CHICAGO, IL – When most people think about “restraints,” they likely picture handcuffs, zip ties, or ropes. But in Chicago nursing homes, chemical restraints are also used on a fairly regular basis. This is a highly controversial subject, as chemical restraints are often considered illegal. Despite this fact, many staff members at nursing home facilities in Illinois continue to use chemical restraints which lead to considerable levels of discomfort for innocent seniors.
If you believe that your senior loved one is being subjected to chemical restraints in Illinois, you should reach out to a qualified, experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. These legal professionals can help you assess the situation and take legal action if necessary. Nursing home lawsuits can provide you with a considerable financial settlement that you can use to pay for your damages.
It’s best to get in touch with a qualified, experienced attorney as soon as possible if you feel your loved one’s rights are being violated. The statute of limitations may prevent you from taking legal action if you wait too long, so it’s always a good idea to be proactive.
Chemical Restraints Explained
Chemical restraints are designed to prevent patients from engaging in certain behavior (1). When used under legitimate circumstances, this medication can prevent patients from harming themselves, medical professionals, or other patients. It’s important to note that chemical restraints are never actually used to improve a patient’s condition directly. This method is simply intended to change their behavior.
Several types of chemical restraints may be used in various circumstances, including:
- Anti-anxiety medication
Important Considerations Before Using Chemical Restraints
Chemical restraints should only be used as a “last resort.” Medical professionals are encouraged to try other methods, such as verbal calming and de-escalation techniques. Chemical restraints should also be used only if the individual is not able to make rational decisions. This method may also be used if the patient poses a serious risk to themself or others.
Are Chemical Restraints Legal in Illinois?
According to the Nursing Home Act, the use of chemical restraints in Illinois is highly regulated. Nursing homes are not allowed to administer chemical restraints to elderly patients unless they obtain their consent (2). The only exception is if there is a clear “emergency situation” present – and even then, the chemical restraints can only be used temporarily.
How to Spot the Use of Chemical Restraints
Sometimes, chemical restraint use is difficult to spot. Your senior may seem a little different – perhaps showing lower signs of energy or engagement than usual. However, your senior may have exhibited these signs prior to the use of chemical restraints, so it might be challenging to tell the difference. Generally speaking, someone who has been given chemical restraints often seems tired and “drugged up.” They may also show signs of impaired memory, loss of interest in their environment, and general loss of mental faculties. They may also be at a higher risk for falls, and they may have difficulty moving.
What Are the Dangers of Chemical Restraints
According to a report issued by the FDA, approximately 15,000 seniors die each year in the United States due to the improper or unnecessary use of anti-psychotics (3). Make no mistake – these are powerful drugs. In some cases, they may react badly with other medication that your senior is taking, causing health complications. As previously noted, this medication can also make your senior more likely to fall, which can lead to injury or death. Negligent staff members may also improperly calculate the correct dosage, leading to serious complications.
How to Prove the Negligent Use of Chemical Restraints
If you believe that your senior was negligently dosed with chemical restraints, you should get in touch with a lawyer immediately. These legal professionals can help you prove that a nursing home acted in a negligent manner. For example, they might ask the nursing home to provide certain consent forms that they were required to obtain from the senior prior to carrying out the use of chemical restraints. If they cannot produce these consent forms, then they clearly violated the law. Even if they did obtain consent, you may argue that the senior was deceived or tricked into signing the forms.
Where Can I Find a Nursing Home Attorney?
If your senior one has been subjected to the use of chemical restraints, you may be wondering: “Where can I find nursing home abuse attorneys near me?” If you live in the Chicago area, you can get in touch with Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. These legal professionals have dealt with many nursing home abuse cases in the past, and they can help you strive for the best possible results while fighting for seniors’ rights in an effective manner. Call our office now at (312) 384-1920 to receive a free case evaluation today or visit our website to learn more.
Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd.
221 North LaSalle, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601