Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse: Over-prescribing Antipsychotic Drugs

Nursing home residents deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, but unfortunately many nursing home patients suffer various types of abuse at the hands of caregivers who should be helping them to stay safe and cared for.  Conservative Review reported recently on a multi-year investigation that the AARP conducted into the abusive practices of nursing homes overprescribing patients anti-psychotic drugs. Atlanta nursing home abuse

This practice can have deadly consequences for patients and it is vitally important that seniors and their families take legal action when a nursing home improperly administers medication. The improper use of anti-psychotic drugs is called chemical restraint and it is considered to be a form of nursing home abuse.

An Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyer can provide assistance in making a claim to recover compensation for economic loss and for compensatory damages when this type of abuse happens.

Chemical Restraint is a Common Form of Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse

According to the Conservative Review, research involving more than 15,500 nursing homes demonstrated that as many as one in five nursing home patients had been prescribed a drug improperly that the patient did not need and that could put the patient in danger.

Patients are prescribed powerful and dangerous anti-psychotic drugs, typically without the consent of their family members even though the patients are not able to consent or decline the use of the drugs. The anti-psychotic drugs make the patients much more docile so they are easy to control and staff members don’t have to actively care for them as much.

Many nursing homes are understaffed so staff members use chemical restraint as a solution to solve this problem. Nursing home staff members are also undertrained and underpaid, in many situations, making chemical restraint appear to be a good option for staff members who don’t know how to handle senior residents.

In reality, chemical restraint is not an acceptable option; it is an option with potentially fatal consequences. In one case, a 78-year-old patient was admitted to a nursing home in fine physical health and died around 10 months after being admitted to the home due to the use of powerful antipsychotic medications he didn’t need and no one in his family consented to having him take.

Staff members claim they need these drugs to help patients avoid becoming a danger to themselves or others, but as the Conservative Review points out, ” this is a smokescreen” because there is no way of predicting in advance that a patient would actually do anything harmful or dangerous. Patients shouldn’t be given a strong drug only to prevent possible future behavior.

Unfortunately, antipsychotic medications can interact with other drugs that seniors take to cause dangerous side effects. The medications can also change a patient’s personality and degrade his quality of life. No patient who does not have a medical need for antipsychotics should be prescribed this type of drug and whenever a nursing care facility is going to prescribe a powerful medication, the facility should talk with the patient’s family first if the patient’s physical or mental condition prevent the patient from being able to give informed consent on his own.

The Atlanta injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after an accidental injury. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or  contact us online to schedule your free consultation.