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Chemical Restraint in a Nursing Home

Has an elder loved one been chemically restrained in a nursing home? If so you may want to talk to a nursing home lawyer, Nashville, Tennessee trusts. For decades, lawyer Jim Higgins has been tenaciously fighting for the rights of elders and their family. Guided by a zelous determination and a vast comprehension of the complex legislation associated with nursing home abuse, Jim Higgins is prepared to do everything legally possible to get maximum compensation for clients. For a consultation with a Nashville nursing home lawyer, call +1 615-353-0930 now.

In 1987, Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. In it were new regulations for the nursing home industry which sought to protect residents and their rights. Part of this act prohibited the use of chemical restraints and any unnecessary medication. Unfortunately this is a reoccurring issue that continues to make national headlines. It is prudent for resident's and their family members to become educated about chemical restraint in a nursing home and also understand this type of practice is not legal.

What Are Chemical Restraints?

A chemical restraint is any type of drug that may be used as a type of convenience or discipline rather than medicinal purposes. In general, staff of a nursing home may administer chemical restraints to pacify and sedate a resident who is becoming unruly, annoying, aggressive, or uncontrollable.

Using medications for to treat ailments or illnesses is not a chemical restraint. Rather it can only be considered a chemical restraint when staff are using them to better control a resident. In this case it is a Federal violation. If you believe this has happened to your loved one, please call a nursing home lawyer in Nashville as soon as possible.

Medications Commonly Used for Chemical Restraint

Any medication that is used to sedate, calm, or disorientate could be considered a chemical restraint. Common medications include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiolytics - i.e. Alprazolam, Chlordiazepoxide, Diazepam, Lorazepam
  • Antidepressants - i.e. Fluoxetine, Amitriptyline, Bupropion ER, Venlafaxine ER
  • Antipsychotics - i.e Clozapine, Quetiapine, Aripiprazole lauroxil, Iloperidone
  • Mood stabilizers - i.e. Lithium, Lamotrigine, Carbamazepine
  • Sedative - i.e. Estazolam, Flunitrazepam, Lorazepam, Midazolam
The Harmful Effects of Chemical Restraints

Chemical restraints can pose a serious risk to elderly people. They are powerful medications and should only be used when absolutely necessary and under the close watch of a medical doctor. Many elderly men and women are taking multiple medications for other health conditions and when combined with these psychotropic drugs, the harm could be catastrophic. According to the FDA, chemical restraints kill up to 15,000 nursing home resident's every year. Of all the medications used, antipsychotics are the most common and also the most dangerous, particularly when the patient has dementia. Risks of chemical restraints include:

  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Tolerance and dependence
  • Withdrawal from the medication
  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive problems
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Loss of strength
  • Increased risk of accidents
  • Low blood pressure
  • Adverse drug effects
  • Heart problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Muscle disorders
  • + More
A Nursing Home Residents' Right to the Unnecessary Use of Medications

Every elderly individual being cared for in a nursing home has the right to be free from any form of unnecessary treatment which includes medication. Often the elder does not realize that he or she is being unlawfully medication which is why family members should carefully examine their treatment and medication regime. If anything seems suspicious or unnecessary, you should consult with a nursing home lawyer, Nashville resident's respect. Unnecessary usage of medications could refer to:

  • Given the medication in excessive dosage and/or for excessive periods of time
  • Lack of a clear medical purpose for the medication
  • Little-to-no monitoring of the patient while being medication
  • The patient experiences adverse effects or interactions
The Death of Bobby Glenn Tweed

In 2013, Bobby Glenn Tweed, 78, was inappropriately given psychotropic drugs at Takoma Regional Hospital and at Life Care Center of Greeneville, TN. Medical staff explained to his family that he was given the medications to relive his dementia and Alzheimer's. However the medications, Depakote, Geodon, and Seroquel, are very powerful anti-seizure and antipsychotic medications and should not be used to treat any kind of dementia. The family also claimed that no one gave the facility and staff their consent to the use of the medications. The family, with the help of a nursing home lawyer, settled a wrongful death claim against staff and the facility for an undisclosed amount in 2017.

Has Your Elder Been Chemically Restrained in a Nursing Home?

No one deserves to be chemically restrained in a nursing home just because he or she is "difficult" or "misunderstood". If your elderly loved one has suffered harm, or has died, because of chemical restraint, a nursing home lawyer would like to discuss your legal options. For a consultation with Jim Higgins, a Tennessee nursing home lawyer, call +1 615-353-0930.

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When my mother was neglected in a nursing home I was referred to The Higgins Firm for help. They did a great job representing my family and obtained a significant settlement. Hopefully, this will keep someone else's parent from being mistreated in the future. Angie S.
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I have a large collection practice and don't handle personal injury cases. Instead of simply declining a case, I referred it to The Higgins Firm. They handled everything. My client got a large recovery and I got a large co-counsel fee. The client and I were both very happy. Attorney Bo Melton
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