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Old And Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes

It’s no secret that overmedication runs rampant in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, but until a recent NPR report, it wasn’t entirely clear how rampant.

The numbers may surprise you.

Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugs, according to NPR. Many need them to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s. But many don’t, and that’s the scary part.

NPR found examples of residents being treated illegally with anti-psychotic drugs for “the convenience of staff.” NRP reports that is called “chemical restraint” and is illegal.

One of the patient’s daughters said her mother was often “lost” and/or “out of her skin,” on the drugs.

USC pharmacy professor Bradley Williams explained the dangers of treating with antipsychotics. “They blunt behaviors,” he told NPR. “They can cause sedation. It increases their risk for falls. If you want to get to the very basic bottom line, why should someone pay for something that’s not needed?”

Another patient was being treated with Risperdal and Haldol, which NPR described as “powerful antipsychotics.” After she died, her family and others filed a joint lawsuit. The nursing home settled and was forced to change its practices.

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 your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, 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.