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Do nursing homes abuse the use of antipsychotics?

NewsNursing Home Neglect   October 31, 2016

The misuse of antipsychotics among nursing home patients is a serious concern for the medical community and families of victims. There is a place for these drugs, but they do have side effects and consequences that can’t be ignored. Residents of long-term care facilities may be placed on these drugs, and reports have shown that they are being placed on them more often even when they do not have a diagnosis to warrant the antipsychotic’s use.

It has been shown that 26 percent of all nursing home residents take antipsychotic medications. Among those with dementia, use is as high as 40 percent. What’s scary about that is that the United States Food and Drug Administration has said that there are serious risks of medical complications if those with dementia are given antipsychotics. Why would anyone administer such a potentially dangerous drug without consent?

It can be given as a kind of chemical restraint to calm nursing home patients, but that’s not an appropriate use of the drug. Essentially, giving this drug to the patient could be a punishment or be used as a way to make the nurses’ jobs easier; this is not healthy or legal. In fact, Medicaid programs prohibit chemical restrains. These drugs are so powerful that they can make a patient unresponsive; they are so strong that patients may not be able to interact or participate in activities.

If you find out that a drug is being given to a loved one without a proper diagnosis or medical purpose, it’s within your rights to file a malpractice claim. No nurse or doctor should be prescribing any treatment without your family member or your family approving the treatment plan.

Source: National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, “The Misuse of Antipsychotics Among Nursing Home Residents,” accessed Oct. 21, 2016