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  • Writer's pictureLinda A Curtis, LMSW

"Chemical Restraint" of Nursing Home Patients

Nursing home patient on Haldol.
Chemical restraint of nursing home patient

We no longer use straight jackets to restrain patients who "act out" but the use of "chemical restraints" is still a widely used practice in nursing homes. The share of residents with a schizophrenia diagnosis has increased to 11 percent from less than 7 percent since 2012. At least 21 percent of nursing home residents are on antipsychotic drugs. Legally Haldol and other psychotropics cannot be prescribed for dementia, they can however be prescribed with a schizophrenia diagnoses. This is seems to be occurring primarily due to a lack of staffing to work with these patients. A recent New York Times investigation found some very frightening trends in the nursing home industry which appears to be increasingly more interested in profits than in patient care.

Schizophrenia is NOT a disease that you get when you are in your 70s, 80s or 90s it is a mental illness that develops in the late teens to early adulthood. Families need to be aware of the medications their loved ones are being given. Health Care Proxies are allowed to see their loved ones medical records and they should not hesitate to request records which must be provided by law.

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