Contractures, Overmedication

Weak and immobile residents still need to move — even if that means passively having their limbs exercised in bed by physical therapy staff, and even when their eligibility for government-funded physical therapy runs out. Patients who don’t move their arms, legs, fingers and even necks can suffer those body parts being frozen and lose the ability to ever move them again, a condition known as a contracture.

At the other end of the spectrum, some residents may be excessively active, to the point where they are a bother to staff or put themselves at injury risk. Nurses may be tempted to overmedicate these patients, keeping them groggy and mostly in bed. Such treatment is not only a legal, but can increase a patient’s risk of injury and expose them to other dangers, including overdose.