For many of us, one of our worst fears is ending up in a
nursing home, overmedicated to the point where we’re barely conscious. Another
fear, is having one of our loved ones drugged to a stupor while under
a nursing home’s care. If these fears have cross your mind, they’re
not unreasonable or unfounded.
According to an article published by
National Public Radio (NPR), “Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving
antipsychotic drugs, usually to suppress anxiety or aggression that can
go with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.”
The issue: Antipsychotics are predominantly approved to treat people with
a serious mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. When
given to dementia patients, the drugs can be deadly. The have a black
box warning that says taking the drugs can increase the risk of infections,
heart failure and death. So, knowing the risks for dementia patients,
are they really worth it?
According to NPR, “Federal law prohibits the use of antipsychotics
and other psychoactive drugs for the convenience of staff. It’s
called a ‘chemical restraint.’” Even though there is
supposed to be a medical need for the drugs, such drugs are frequently
abused for the sole purpose of making it easier to control dementia patients.
Professor Bradley Williams told NPR that antipsychotic drugs “blunt
behaviors. They can cause sedation. It increases their risk for falls.”
Williams said that in most cases, the drugs are not necessary. Unfortunately,
elderly residents and their family members often don’t know the
drug is not necessary and they’re not informed of the serious risks.
If your loved one has been given antipsychotic drugs and the nursing home
did not obtain informed consent as required by law, you may have grounds
for a lawsuit. To learn more,
contact Norman Taylor & Associates at (888) 510-8619 today.