Nursing homes often resort to extreme methods when attempting to control residents. Restraints are generally used under the guise of protection or preventing a resident from injuring himself or herself. Unfortunately, the restraints are often used in a punitive or inappropriate manner. While most people first think of physical restraints, the use of chemical restraints is common.
Physical restraints can range from bedrails and straps to wheelchair locks. A nursing home staff might employ these methods to punish an elderly resident or to prevent them from having freedom of movement. These restraints can leave lasting physical and emotional scars.
Conversely, chemical restraints are psychotropic drugs that impact a patient’s ability to think and act freely. These drugs can be used to control restlessness, uncooperative behavior or the pace of movement. They can be used to artificially induce complacency. Unfortunately, chemical restraints can be dangerous to elderly nursing home residents due to potentially lasting effects or adverse drug interactions.
Different members of a nursing home staff have received different levels of training and instruction. People come from different backgrounds and have different mindsets. Members of the staff might react differently to adverse conditions and use restraints in different ways. Additionally, not every member of a nursing home staff has received the training necessary to identify a harmful drug interaction when attempting to use a chemical restraint. Would they be able to recognize the dangerous interaction between a dose of antipsychotic medication and medication taken to control heart arrythmia?
A nursing home staff might restrain a resident if they become difficult to control or generally unmanageable. Unfortunately, these determinations are subjective, and restraints can often be used as a punishment or to prove a point to other residents. If your loved one was injured by the improper use of restraints in a nursing home, it is wise to seek guidance from a legal professional.