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Do nursing homes violate human rights with chemical restraints?

| May 11, 2020 | Elder Abuse |

When your loved one becomes a resident in a nursing home, you expect him or her to have the best possible care. As your parent, grandparent or other family members enter the home, he or she probably has medications to remain healthy. What happens if the nursing home administers medications that do not belong to him or her? 

This may sound outlandish at first, but in the United States, over 179,000 people receive antipsychotic drugs for which they do not have a diagnosis for, according to the Human Rights Watch. Why are nursing homes overmedicating patients? 

The use of chemical restraints 

To use a drug to sedate a patient or to make him or her more docile is known as chemical restraint. In nursing homes, patients are frail and often depend on the home to provide safety and care. When an institution uses antipsychotic drugs to create a more docile patient, this is betraying the patient’s good faith. 

Chemical restraints are often tools that caregivers use for convenience sake or to punish a resident. Through international avenues, this is degrading and inhuman. Under domestic law, this constitutes as elder abuse and does not align with a person’s human rights. 

The rights of nursing home patients 

Nursing home patients have the same rights that every other American adult has. In addition, they have the right to stay free of abuse and to receive appropriate medical care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a job to protect the elderly from nursing home abuse. They oversee the protection of legal rights, but may not always act when needed.