How the Use of Antipsychotic Drugs is the Newest Form of Nursing Home Abuse

by Staff Blogger | July 28th, 2014

Antipsychotic medications can be extremely beneficial in the treatment of certain mental health disorders, but new reports are showing these medications may be misused in nursing homes across the country as a means to restrain and control patients. In fact, the University of California-San Francisco found that as many as 1-in-5 patients in the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes are receiving dangerous and unnecessary antipsychotic drugs.

These findings leave many with loved ones in nursing homes wondering why this abuse of both patients and medications is occurring. An article from AARP News points to three specific factors, including:

  • Inadequate Training
  • Understaffing
  • Excessive marketing by drug manufacturers

The article went on to explain that doctors would often receive kickbacks in the form of payments from drug manufacturers for prescribing their products to patients.

So what can be done to stop this type of nursing home abuse? Experts tend to agree that looking for better treatment options is the best bet. An example was cited in which an elderly nursing home patient had become increasingly aggressive while in an activity room with others. He was taken away for quiet time in his own room following each incident. Doctors were ready to prescribe an antipsychotic to control the patient’s behavior, but luckily discovered they had been reinforcing the negative behavior by giving the patient what he wanted when he acted out, which was time alone. The issue was addressed with more activity for the patient and no drugs were needed for treatment.

The California personal injury attorneys with Berg Injury Lawyers are hopeful more families will push their loved ones’ doctors and medical facilities to consider other options prior to using antipsychotic drugs to control a patient.