Use of Psychotropic Drugs to Restrain Residents of Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Centers


Staff members often promote residents’ over-use of psychotropic drugs, like antidepressants, tranquilizers, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs. Used too much or in combination, the combined effect is overmedication—sedation that acts like a “chemical straightjacket” for nursing home residents. Furthermore, if these drugs are used in ways not specifically tied to a residents’ care plan, the nursing home may be liable for damages.

Improper use of drugs is never acceptable. At Solomon & Relihan, we take immediate action. Our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers have more than 40 years experience holding wrongdoers accountable for harm caused by restraints.

Improper Nursing Home Restraints

There are two kinds of restraints commonly used in nursing homes: physical and chemical. While physical restraints prevent a person from moving by tying him or her to a wheelchair, bed, or fixed object, chemical restraints are drugs intended to control a person’s behavior.

The use of chemical restraints must be medically necessary and ordered by a physician. When used only for staff convenience, and not to treat an underlying medical condition, using drugs as a chemical restraint is against the law.

The side effects of improper use of chemical restraints are serious. More than limiting a resident’s ability to function, the long-term use of chemical restraints can lead to diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, and central nervous system disorders, as well as liver, kidney, pancreas, and other organ damage.

Contact Solomon & Relihan

If someone you care about has been injured by chemical or physical restraints in a nursing home, take prompt action. Speak with an Arizona lawyer who is an advocate for nursing home residents.