Psychotropic drugs play a useful role in nursing homes’ care of residents. Used to treat seizures, treat mental disorders, and manage psychiatric conditions, nursing home staff can administer these substances in a well-planned, well-executed manner that results in a better-run facility and happier, healthier residents. However, sometimes nursing home staff’s overuse of psychotropic drugs to keep residents sedated and less troublesome can create great discomfort and potential dangers.
If your loved one is a resident at a nursing home in Phoenix, AZ and has suffered from overuse of psychotropic medication, you may be eligible for compensation. A Zanes Law overuse of psychotropic medication lawyer in Phoenix, AZ will do everything from A to Z to investigate your loved one’s experience and see that your family is compensated for the nursing home’s negligence.
Call us at (866)-499-8989 for a free, no-obligation case review.
Understanding Psychotropic Drugs and How Nursing Homes Use Them
Psychotropic drugs alter a person’s mental state. They can be quite potent and, despite their value in the medical world, quite addictive.
Examples of these drugs include:
- Antipsychotic medications
- Any mood-altering drug
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, nursing home staff can administer these drugs inappropriately. The drug’s presence in a nursing home is to manage the resident’s condition, with close monitoring, and under the direction of a psychiatrist or doctor.
According to the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 nursing homes can use psychotropic drugs to restrain residents only in cases where such administration of the drug resolves a safety risk.
When Nursing Homes Misuse Psychotropic Drugs
The problems begin when nursing home staff administers psychotropic drugs in a negligent manner, which can cause catastrophic medical and emotional damage for the residents.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than half of nursing home and assisted living residents have dementia or some other cognitive impairment. Residents in this mental state can prove challenging for nursing care staff. They might tend to complain frequently and refuse to follow directions.
Sometimes, staff members grow impatient with this lack of cooperation. They determine that by dosing such a resident with psychotropic drugs, they can more easily control the resident. They use the drug as a constant mental restraint, rather than work with the resident with patience and compassion.
Adverse Effects of Psychotropic Drug Overuse
Besides breaking the law with their overuse of psychotropic medication, these nursing home staff members subject dosed residents to an undignified state of living, casting them into a world of warped perceptions and altered moods.
These drugs also introduce:
- Higher death rates
- Risk of slip and falls
- Negative and unpleasant side effects
- A diminished sense of self
A Nursing Home’s Duty of Care to its Residents
If you want to take legal action against a nursing home for its overuse of psychotropic medication on your loved one, we will apply the “duty of care” precept to establish liability. This will be a four-pronged approach:
- Duty of Care – We will highlight that, by its very definition, the nursing home had a duty to protect your loved one.
- Breach of Duty of Care – We will prove that by overusing psychotropic medication on your loved one, the nursing home breached its duty of care.
- Causation – We will then illustrate how this breach of duty injured your loved one.
- Damages – We will convey that this injury incurred damages—physical, emotional, and financial.
Our overuse of psychotropic medication lawyers in Phoenix, AZ will embark on this process diligently, doing everything from A to Z to paint a clear picture of negligence in the case of your loved one’s mistreatment at his or her nursing home.
Establishing the Nursing Home’s Breach of Duty of Care
The only acceptable uses of psychotropic drugs in a nursing home are as a component of a documented, process that involves:
- A physician who prescribed the drug with a specific, clinical outcome in mind—and who is ensuring that the administration of the drug is being monitored and adjusted as needed.
- A resident who is documented behaving in a manner that poses an immediate danger to themselves or others—and the drug is administered to prevent physical harm and stopped when there is no longer a threat of danger.
The above instances represent the letter of the law, and when a nursing home administers psychotropic medication in any situation that does not match these scenarios, the facility has breached its duty of care and can be held liable for the consequences.
An overuse of psychotropic medication lawyer in Phoenix, AZ will use the evidence we gather from witness statements, photographs, surveillance videos, medical records, and facility records to prove that the nursing home engaged in overuse of psychotropic medication outside legally accepted practices when treating your loved one, thereby breaching its duty of care.
Proving Causation of Injury
We will engage the assistance of credible, medical professionals who will testify that the overuse of psychotropic medication injured your loved one physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.
Our team of lawyers will work with you and develop a comprehensive list of damages resulting from the nursing home’s mistreatment of your loved one.
Types of damages that might appear on this list include:
- Doctors’ fees
- Surgeon fees
- Emergency transportation
- Physical therapy
- Relocation to another facility
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
We will use the opinions of professional consultants, as well as the evidence we gathered during the investigation of your case to arrive at costs associated with each damage type.
The final list will be presented to the nursing home facility’s insurer, with whom we will negotiate on your behalf for a fair settlement.
Should the insurers not cooperate in this regard, we will file a civil lawsuit against the nursing home.
Zanes Law Will Do Everything from A to Z to See That You Are Compensated
Few things stir our legal team more than nursing home abuse. Call Zanes Law today at (866)-499-8989. We will give you a no-cost, no-obligation legal consultation. If you hire our firm to represent you, we will not charge you unless and until you are compensated.