Unfortunately, elderly people in America are often shunted aside. In fact, this vulnerable population is often mistreated. Despite warnings by federal safety regulators that administration of antipsychotic drugs to elderly people can hasten their death, astonishing numbers of these medications are being unnecessarily administered to dementia patients in nursing homes.
This type nursing home abuse is disturbingly common in Chicago and across the country. Antipsychotic drugs are often prescribed to make patients more cooperative and easier to care for. The problem, however, is that such drugs are often overused.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, nearly 40 percent of nursing home patients with signs of dementia received antipsychotics at some point in 2010. According to reports, 17 percent of nursing home patients were getting excessive doses of these antipsychotics.
In other words, antipsychotic drugs were given to nursing home residents more than twice as often as they needed to be. The convenience of the staff is not a justification for using such powerful drugs.
Of course, nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect can take many other forms. In addition to excessive or inappropriate medication, these include bed sores, poor hygiene, over-sedation, dehydration, malnutrition, unnecessary falls, mental abuse and emotional abuse.
Anyone with a loved one in a nursing home should be vigilant in researching the type of care given, the facility's protocol for administering medication and the qualifications of those in charge. Elderly residents in nursing homes need to have a voice. If you suspect that a loved one is at risk of nursing home abuse or neglect, make sure to speak up.
Source: Syracuse.com, "Are nursing homes over-medicating patients?," James T. Mulder, July 30, 2012
Our firm represents clients who are injured in nursing homes. To learn more, visit our nursing home abuse page.