Elderly Lives Matter®

Improper Use of Medical Sedation Could Harm Your Aging Loved One

On Behalf of | May 1, 2020 | Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Sedation is one of the most amazing advancements of modern medicine. Surgery is simpler and recovery from painful, debilitating illnesses is more efficient when an individual isn’t conscious and struggling with extreme levels of pain. Sedation can also make medical procedures simpler for the professionals performing them.

Sedation allows patients to avoid intensely painful or traumatic experiences, like the removal of necrotic tissue. Unfortunately, some medical facilities misuse sedation as a way to manage patients that they deem difficult.

Nursing homes should only use sedation when medically necessary or in extreme circumstances where a better alternative does not exist, such as a situation where a patient prevent imminent risk of harm to themselves. Barring that, the use of sedation on residents in the nursing home might constitute medical abuse.

Sedation comes with risks and should require consent

There are various different kinds of sedation, ranging from inhaled gases to injectable medication. Each of these offers certain benefits and presents certain specific medical drawbacks. No form of sedation is completely risk-free. Many of them slow the heart rate or the rate of respiration. All of them presents some risk of interaction with other medication or allergic reaction in the patient.

As such, facilities should only administer sedation with the informed consent of an individual or the person authorized to make medical decisions on their behalf. Sadly, research has shown that roughly 179,000 older adults wind up inappropriately administered sedation or so-called chemical restraints in facilities across the country each week.

If a review of your loved one’s medical record demonstrates that they have received sedation in inappropriate circumstances and without consent, you may need to take action to protect them.

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