Excessive use of antipsychotics in California nursing homes
The use of antipsychotics in California nursing homes is a growing problem that has serious consequences for your loved ones. If you believe your family member has been abused with use of antipsychotics, contact our nursing home abuse lawyer Emeryville California at 510-271-6720. Nursing homes are supposed to be safe places for seniors, but some use antipsychotics as a shortcut to control behavior instead of addressing the root causes of agitation. It is called chemical restraint and can have very harmful side effects, including death.
There are many risks to misuse of antipsychotics
Antipsychotic medications have risks and benefits. For example, when a person with dementia is psychotic and their behavior is unmanageable, they could pose a risk to themselves or others. In these cases, antipsychotic medications help manage people’s behavior by calming them down.
However, we need to use antipsychotics sparingly because there are many side effects associated with them. They can cause:
- weight gain
- increase the risk of stroke and diabetes
- strain the heart muscle
- cause low blood pressure
- make it hard to swallow
- make you sweat more than normal (sweating excessively)
- cause drowsiness or sleepiness (which can be dangerous if you’re driving)
- increase your risk of pneumonia by making it hard for you to cough up mucus in your lungs (which helps fight infections)
One of the biggest concerns is that antipsychotics — even at low doses — increase the risk of death among older adults with dementia. This is especially true when the drugs are not medically necessary. If your loved one has been unnecessarily drugged and you need help, our nursing home abuse lawyer Emeryville California is here for you. Nobody wants to see their loved ones suffer and we will make sure your family member is protected and fairly compensated.
The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform are dedicated to making nursing homes safer for residents. One of the measures they are taking is to make sure nursing homes only use these drugs when medically necessary. “Unless you have a severe mental illness…it is not safe to enter a nursing home that uses antipsychotic drugs at a high rate.” You can access their drugging data on California’s facilities here to learn about the rates in the nursing home your loved one is in.
Nursing home abuse is a nationwide problem
Nursing home abuse is a growing problem across the United States. Abuse can take many forms, but it’s typically defined as any act of physical or emotional harm. Emotional abuse may include threats, intimidation or humiliation in order to control another person. Physical abuse might include slapping, hitting or punching someone. Sexual abuse involves inappropriate touching and/or intercourse without consent.
Nursing home residents are at risk of being abused by their caregivers or other residents living with them in their facility if they live somewhere that doesn’t have proper supervision. In addition, some of the elderly may not be able to speak up for themselves, which makes them more prone to being victims.
Chemical restraint is a form of physical and mental abuse. According to reports, nursing homes administer antipsychotic drugs to residents who don’t have a diagnosis that would require them. Most of these individuals have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. In fact, the problem has become so pervasive that the Federal Government is taking additional measures to prevent inappropriate use of antipsychotics.
The impetus or motivation for misuse is obvious: convenience. These drugs can control behavioral and psychological symptoms associated with dementia, for example, aggression, agitation, irritability, and wandering. If residents are docile or sedated, less staff is need and the nursing homes can make a larger profit.
According to Human Rights Watch: “The drugs’ use as a chemical restraint—for staff convenience or to discipline or punish a resident—could constitute abuse under domestic law and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law.” If you suspect your loved one has been given antipsychotics that are not part of their treatment, contact our nursing home abuse lawyer Emeryville California for a consultation.
If you suspect your loved one has been abused with antipsychotics, contact our nursing home abuse lawyer Emeryville California
Administering antipsychotics can be illegal. This violation is enforceable and at Siegal & Richardson, LLC, our nursing home abuse lawyer Emeryville California can help you pursue justice. If you or someone close to you is suffering from abuse, please reach out to us so we can help. We are here and ready to assist with any questions or concerns that you may have about your loved one’s care.