A report recently released by the Human Rights Watch indicated that many nursing homes may be misusing drugs to maintain greater control over patients suffering from dementia. By using these drugs in a way not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and without the consent of the patients or their guardians, nursing home staff could be committing serious infractions both legally and from an ethical standpoint.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a catch-all term that includes a number of conditions, including aphasia, Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia associated with strokes, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and many other diseases and disorders of the mental faculties. Patients with dementia may be fearful, confused or even violent. They require special care to ensure their safety and well-being in the nursing home environment.
Anti-Psychotics Often Used by Nursing Homes
According to the statistics compiled by the Human Rights Watch, approximately 179,000 people receive antipsychotics in nursing homes every week. In some cases, these drugs are not being used to treat symptoms of psychosis but rather to sedate and calm patients with dementia. This practice is not approved by the FDA and may increase the risk of diabetes and blood clots for some vulnerable individuals. Anti-psychotic drugs can nearly double the risk of death for older patients suffering from dementia.
Tantamount to Abuse
Many advocates for the elderly consider these nursing home practices as tantamount to elder abuse. Patients and families who suspect these off-market uses of anti-psychotic medications should consult with a qualified and experienced Wellington nursing home abuse lawyer to determine if a case should be brought against the nursing home staff for the use of these drugs to make their jobs easier. By taking action against the individuals responsible for these actions, it may be possible to discourage these practices throughout our area.
At the Elstein Law Firm, we work diligently to protect the rights of patients in nursing homes and to act against nursing homes who overmedicate patients or who use anti-psychotics to enforce greater control over the vulnerable individuals in their care. Our Wellington nursing home abuse lawyers can provide you with expert guidance in dealing with these issues and protecting the rights of your family members. Call us today at 866-475-4357 to set up your free confidential consultation with our legal team. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.