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Nov 6, 2021 by |

Sonoma County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney: Risks Of Overmedication Of Seniors In Nursing Homes


Use Of Sedatives As Chemical Restraints

Dangers To Seniors Of Psychotropic Drugs

Recourse For Abuse Or Neglect

Overmedication occurs when an elderly patient is given excessive amounts of a medication or unnecessary medications. Overmedication can happen by mistake or can be intentionally done. If a patient is overmedicated intentionally, it is a type of elder abuse. If the patient is accidentally overmedicated, it can be indicative of neglect; if the patient is intentionally overmedicated it may constitute a chemical restraint which is a form of physical elder abuse.  See Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15610.63(definition of physical elder abuse), 15610.57(definition of neglect) and 15610.63 (physical abuse includes chemical restraint “[f]or any purpose not authorized by the physician”), and Cal. Code Regs., tit. 22 § 72018.  Recourse can include award of attorneys’ fees and costs in certain circumstances. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657(a).  If you have a loved one who has suffered injury due to neglect or abuse in a nursing home or care facility here in Sonoma County or elsewhere in California, call Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669, and we can help.  Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).

Definition Of Chemical Restraint

California Code of Regulations (“CCR”), Title 22, § 72018 defines “chemical restraint” as a drug used to control behavior and used in a manner not required to treat the patient’s medical symptoms. The concept of “chemical restraint” encompasses the use of psychotherapeutic medications for various reasons, including the staff’s convenience, discipline, retaliation, or punishment. when psychoactive drugs are used to improperly control behavior in long-term care settings, the effects can be extremely harmful. Powerful psychotherapeutic medications have adverse side effects, which can potentially incapacitate even young and physically strong patients. The liver function decreases with age, and elderly patients have a significantly reduced drug metabolism (the body’s ability to biologically transform medications and facilitate their elimination from the body). As a result, if elderly patients are drugged and chemically restrained with psychotropic medications for behavior control, the effects can be catastrophic. 

Use Of Chemical Restraints/Overmedication

Unfortunately, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities in California resort to the use of chemical restraints at an alarming rate. California is facing an epidemic of chemical restraints misuse in long-term care facilities.  The most common reasons for the inappropriate use of chemical restraints are:

  • For the staff’s convenience as opposed to patient or resident safety (e.g. to restrain patients or residents who have dementia or to avoid the need to periodically check on them and provide individualized attention); and
  • To compensate for the lack of sufficient staffing (understaffing).

Recourse For Injured Residents

If you see any signs whatsoever of overmedication, abuse or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home, do something about it.  Seek counsel regarding possible claims your loved one might have against those responsible. Act quickly whenever you suspect any kind of abuse or neglect as the time period to bring suits for these kinds of cases can be very short.  There is no benefit to waiting.  If a loved one has suffered injury as the result of abuse or neglect, our attorneys will pursue all available remedies from owners, administrators and staff. 

Contact Us

Ingrid M. Evans and Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent victims of overmedication, chemical restraint and other forms of nursing home abuse and neglect in Sonoma County and throughout California.  Call Ingrid today at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=””></a>.  Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).  Ingrid will pursue all available remedies for injured seniors including recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses for bringing your lawsuit. 

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