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Tampa Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys > Blog > Nursing Home Abuse > Understanding Chemical Restraints Used In Nursing Homes

Understanding Chemical Restraints Used In Nursing Homes


When people think of nursing home abuse, they often think of residents in these facilities being ignored, neglected, or even intentionally hit or kicked. Sadly, these types of abuse do happen all too often in nursing homes, but it takes other forms, as well. One of those occurs when nursing home staff members chemically restrain the residents in their care. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is important to know about chemical restraints, and what to do if you suspect that your family member is a victim of it.

What are Chemical Restraints?

Using chemical restraints in a nursing home facility is the use of drugs or other substances in an attempt to subdue residents or make them easier to manage. Many people that live in nursing homes cannot accurately measure out and administer their own medication in the appropriate manner. As such, they rely on the staff members in a nursing home to perform these tasks for them.

When nursing home staff members want to restrain a person, they may use this medication to restrain the individual rather than physical restraints. Antipsychotics, sedatives, and anti-anxiety medication are some of the most common substances used when chemically restraining nursing home residents.

It is important to note that federal law protects nursing home residents from being chemically restrained. Sadly, as with so many other regulations, nursing homes do not always comply with this law, leaving one of society’s most vulnerable sectors at risk.

Reasons Chemical Restraints are Used

There are two main reasons nursing home staff members use chemical restraints. The first is to make residents easier to care for, particularly when the facility is understaffed, which is a chronic problem in long-term care facilities. By using chemical restraints, residents become docile and calm, meaning that staff members do not have to tend to them as much. Staff members may also use chemical restraints to exert power and control of a resident, which is a much darker reason for this type of nursing home abuse.

What to Do if You Suspect Chemical Restraints are Being Used

It is not always easy to detect if chemical restraints are being used on a loved one. The main signs to watch for is if your family member seems unable to focus or concentrate, or if they are behaving in an unusual manner. If you do suspect chemical restraints are being used, speak to your loved one about the medication they have been taking, and ask to see the medicine bottles, as the label may indicate there are more used than what is called for.

Lastly, speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer any time you suspect any form of abuse. A lawyer can help you obtain documents such as medical records that may indicate when medication was administered, as well as the amount given.

Call Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Tampa Today

If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of chemical restraints, our Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer at Kohn Law can provide the legal advice you need. Call us today at 813-428-8504 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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