Improper use of chemical restraints in nursing homes on the rise. Understaffing in nursing home facilities has become rampant, especially since many of these homes are run for profit, meaning that the bottom line is often more important to administrators than the health, safety and welfare of residents.
With this increase in understaffing has come a corresponding rise in the numbers of chemical restraints being prescribed to elderly patients who do not need these medications — and are in fact placed in extreme danger from these improper prescriptions. Our St. Louis personal injury law firm is experienced in seeking justice for Missouri and Illinois residents who have either been injured themselves or seen a relative injured due to being improperly prescribed chemical restraints in nursing homes.
Improperly administering chemical restraints to our loved ones and placing them into a medically-induced “fog” so that they will be easier to manage is not only wrong, it’s deplorable.
As attorneys for those who have been subject to improper chemical restraint, we seek to hold accountable physicians and facilities who subject our loved ones to improper chemical restraint liable for every penny to which they are due. When improper nursing home chemical restraint has occured, we fully develop the cases of our clients, determine who we believe is liable, and make clear to them that they have two choices – pay what is fair based upon the damages and injuries that have occurred , or we will proceed to trial and let a jury determine fault and damages.
Our Firm’s Experience
As a St. Louis personal injury firm, we are devoted to seeking justice for Missouri and Illinois residents who have either been injured themselves or seen a relative injured due to being improperly prescribed chemical restraints in nursing homes. We offer a free initial consultation so that we can advise you as to your legal options once we learn about your case. This consultation also provides you and your family members with an opportunity to learn about our firm, as it’s important to be comfortable with your attorneys before making a hiring decision.
We accept injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that there is no fee for our services unless and until we obtain a settlement or verdict.
What are chemical restraints in nursing homes and how are they improperly used?
A chemical restraint is a drug, such as an atypical antipsychotic, which can act to sedate a patient, typically making them more docile and less active. One study conducted by a researcher at a major university’s medical school revealed a disturbing statistic: nearly one-third of those 1.4 million patients who are residents in long-term care nursing homes were prescribed antipsychotic medications in 2001. That was a significant 10 percent jump over the same time in 1999. The majority of these patients in this study have not been diagnosed with psychosis of any sort. Instead, physicians prescribe these so-called chemical restraints in an “off-label” manner in order to manage the behavior of patients who either have dementia — or are simply more active than other residents.
The use of chemical restraints and the law
Some of the issues with chemical restraints in nursing homes are:
•Congress enacted legislation intending to minimize the use of physical and chemical restraints in order to ensure patients are not prescribed drugs simply to make things more convenient for staff members, or to punish residents.
•At least 17 studies investigating the use of these drugs revealed that patients prescribed chemical restraints were much more likely to die than those being given a placebo drug.
•Statistics show that patients who are prescribed atypical antipsychotics are at a much higher risk for falls, fractures, complications from falls and fractures and even death.
•Another study suggested that Alzheimer’s patients who were given these kinds of drugs suffered side effects that were worse than any benefits from using them to treat patient aggression and agitation.
•Perhaps most disturbing of all, an FDA researcher believes that at least 15,000 elderly nursing home residents are killed by the off-label use of antipsychotic drugs.
Missouri and Illinois residents who believe their loved ones have been harmed after being improperly prescribed chemical restraints in nursing homes have the right to take legal action. A personal injury lawsuit filed in a civil court of law could lead to the recovery of financial damages that can be used to pay for any medical expenses incurred as a result of a nursing home’s negligence. In some cases, pain and suffering compensation may also be appropriate. To learn more about how the law applies to your case and for a free initial consultation, please call our firm today to get started.