This year the Boston Globe ran a provocative series of investigative reports into the rampant use of antipsychotic medication in our nations nursing homes. The overuse of antipsychotics on our nations elderly nursing home residents is probably the common type of nursing home abuse in the U.S.
Nursing home residents are often given these powerful medications not to treat an underlying mental health illness, but instead to make them easier to manage by leaving them in a stupor.
This is highly a controversial and dangerous practice because antipsychotic drugs typically have black box warnings, which are the FDAs strongest medication alerts. This is due to the fact that antipsychotic drugs have many potential fatal side effects especially when they are given to patients with dementia.
Government data indicate that one in five nursing homes in the country administer antipsychotic medication to a large portion of their residents despite the fact that the residents do not have an underlying mental health issue which would warrant the use of these medications.
It is unclear how many of Illinois 1,200 nursing homes overmedicate their residents. Nursing home residents who are given inappropriate drugs should seek legal advice to determine if a nursing home abuse lawsuit is warranted. Civil suits are the primary way in which nursing home residents can enforce their rights and bring about institutional change at a nursing home which overmedicates or mistreats it’s residents.
Source: Boston Globe, Federal websites updated with data on hospital imaging, use of antipsychotics in nursing homes July 19, 2012<< BACK TO BLOG POSTS