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Antipsychotics Are Overused in Florida Nursing Homes

According to the Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reporting (CASPER), an increasing amount of nursing home residents are given antipsychotic drugs without any proper diagnosis to warrant such treatment. At the date of the report, 26 percent of all nursing home residents were receiving antipsychotic drugs; more than 40 percent of patients with dementia were given antipsychotics, the very patients that the FDA warns are at serious risk of death for taking antipsychotics. Unfortunately, many family members are unaware that their loved ones are even receiving antipsychotics as a part of their daily prescription intake.

Misuse of Antipsychotics is Considered Nursing Home Abuse

Prescribing any sort of medication to an individual without a warranted diagnosis is dangerous, and can cause a number of short- and long-term side effects. While prescribing the “wrong medication” may not seem like an abusive tactic to some, there are several reasons that advocates for the elderly are crying out in outrage—reasons that you should be concerned about too. Here are just a few:

  • Antipsychotics place patients at an increased risk for harm, injury, and death. Antipsychotics are extremely dangerous for patients with dementia, as they have been known to increase their risk for confusion, respiratory infections, falls, and strokes. Furthermore, nursing home patients who were prescribed antipsychotics were three times more likely to have strokes than those who were not. Even worse, the FDA administered a warning stating that giving a dementia patient antipsychotics puts them at severe risk for death, and that the risk for mortality should be thoroughly discussed with the patient’s family members and relatives. The FDA also stated that antipsychotics are not a treatment for dementia, so nursing home facilities have absolutely no reason to prescribe them to dementia patients.
  • Antipsychotics are often used as a chemical restraint. Just as cough syrup was abused by parents who wished to get their little ones to sleep, antipsychotics are abused by nursing home staff. Nursing home patients are given antipsychotics as a form of “punishment,” and as a means of sedation. Using any form of chemical restraints on nursing home patients is against the law, yet antipsychotic drugs continue to be used in abundance for that very reason.
  • Antipsychotics often decrease the quality of life of elderly patients. Antipsychotics are such a powerful sedative that nursing home patients who take them become listless and unresponsive, to the point where they are unable to get out of bed, up from their wheelchairs, or to talk with friends and loved ones.

It is extremely unfair to nursing home patients to receive antipsychotics without a proper diagnosis. Not only does it severely limit what they can do with the rest of their days, but it also puts them at an increased risk for harm, injury and death. The overuse of antipsychotics in nursing homes is considered a form of nursing home abuse, and it needs to be stopped.

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer

At The Pendas Law Firm, our lawyers act as advocates for those without a voice. Unfortunately, nursing home residents are frequent victims of abuse, but are often unable to find someone willing to listen to their story. The personal injury lawyers at our Florida law firm are willing to listen. If you have a story of nursing home abuse you would like to share, or if your loved one is being victimized in their nursing home, contact our abuse and neglect lawyers today. Our firm serves clients throughout Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.

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