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Chemical restraints are a form of nursing home abuse

Watching your parent or loved one decline was difficult, and you had to make a difficult decision. Like many other people in Ohio, you came to the conclusion that an excellent nursing home would be the right place for your parent to live. You never thought that you would be dealing with allegations of nursing home abuse in the future.

The elderly and medically fragile population are among some of the most vulnerable groups. These individuals require constant and specialized medical care and should not be given unnecessary treatments or left alone for extended periods of time. Many nursing homes are doing the exact opposite.

Nursing homes are sedating residents

Maybe you did your best to care for your parent who was suffering from dementia, but when the disease progressed, you had no choice but to turn to a nursing home. According to a report from the Human Rights Watch, nursing homes regularly overmedicate and sedate dementia patients. Staff frequently use antipsychotic medications as chemical restraints.

Chemical restraints often have troubling and even horrific outcomes. For example, patients chemically restrained by antipsychotic drugs frequently have slurred speech, cannot think clearly and struggle to stay awake. Patients experiencing these side effects can feel terrified and confused, especially since nursing home staff rarely get informed consent and often provide inappropriate dosages.

It is a widespread problem

That same Human Rights Watch report estimates that nursing homes chemically restrain 179,000 nursing home patients each and every day. Researchers came to this conclusion after visiting 109 nursing home facilities across multiple states. They also interviewed over 320 individuals, including nurses, pharmacists, residents and more.

Speaking with residents' family members revealed additional troubling information. Family members were rarely -- if ever -- told about the dangers of these antipsychotic medications. Many did not even realize that facilities were medicating their loved ones, or they believed that the drugs were to treat things like jerking movements or high blood pressure. Both of these health problems are side effects of antipsychotic drugs.

Residents are suffering

No matter what health problems a person may have, he or she deserves the opportunity to enjoy the end of life. Chemical restraints not only steal that opportunity, but they also actively harm patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that antipsychotic medications double the death risk for elderly dementia patients. These drugs can also induce problems with the nervous system.

You only wanted what was best for your loved one. Instead, the people you trusted to provide compassionate care actually caused serious harm. Nursing home abuse causes significant physical, emotional and financial problems, and you may need help addressing those issues. By pursuing a claim against your parent's nursing home facility, you can possibly achieve both financial compensation and a much-needed sense of justice. If you are unsure of how to begin this process, you should speak with an experienced attorney about your options.

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