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Medication ErrorsNeglect

Over-Drugging Nursing Home Residents Still Prevalent

Forbes magazine reports in its article entitled “Dementia Patients Still Getting Dangerous Antipsychotic Drugs In Nursing Homes,” that more “than one out of every five nursing home residents is still being given powerful antipsychotic drugs despite a growing consensus that they are inappropriate and often dangerous. These drugs frequently are given to “calm” dementia patients even though many are approved only for the treatment of diseases such as schizophrenia.”

Forbes reports that “[d]espite a federal initiative, a $2.2 billion legal settlement by [Johnson & Johnson] earlier this month, and the support of many nursing home and consumer organizations, it has been extremely difficult to reduce the overuse of these drugs.”

Forbes reports that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicare) kicked off an effort in March, 2012 “aimed at reducing nursing home use of antipsychotic drugs from nearly 24 percent to about 20 percent by the end of that year.” (CMS pushed back the goal to the end of 2013.)  Forbes reports that CMS that more than 21 percent of long-stay nursing home residents are still getting these drugs and that a “coalition of patient advocates estimates that represents more than 300,000 residents.”

Forbes reports that “the root problem may be with nursing homes themselves. Many find it easy to manage anxiety, confusion, or behavioral issues of their residents with drugs. It is, for too many facilities, a convenient solution even though most research shows few benefits for residents and many risks.”

The Forbes article explains that “there are alternatives. Residents are often agitated because  they are in pain or discomfort. Facilities need to make the effort to identify those causes and address them.”

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe you or your loved one has suffered medication errors because the nursing home failed to do its job, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.