AThe use of chemical restraints is, unfortunately, nothing new. Nursing home abuse lawyers have long known that medication is often used to sedate and restrain residents. ABC News online recently published an article on the detrimental effects of a certain prescription often given to Dementia patients in nursing homes. Most of the time, these prescriptions are dispersed not only to sedate patients so they become more “manageable,” but also to help the nursing home make money from the Medicaid reimbursements they receive for ordering the medication.
Medication Causes Increased Death Risk in Dementia Patients
study of over 75,000 nursing home residents – 65 and older, who suffer from dementia – has found that those that take the anti-psychotic drug Haldol double their risk of death compared to those taking Risperdal. It seems that the risk was highest during the first 40 days of treatment. Krsita Huybrechts, epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, commented on the recent findings:
“The evidence provided in our study reinforces the important risks associated with the use of these drugs and underscores the need to try alternative means of dealing with behavioral problems in older patients with dementia. [The use of Haldol] cannot be justified because of the excess of harm. ”
Conversely, patients taking Seroquel appeared, according to the study, to have a decreased risk of death compared to those taking Risperdal. However, the use of any of the medications seems unneccessary, seeing as their effect on dementia symptoms is quite limited; so much so that the FDA never even approved many of these drugs for use in the treatment of dementia. Nursing homes are being reimbursed by Medicaid for the off-label distribution on anti-psychotics, or chemical restraints.
Dr. Jenny McCleery, consultant psychiatrist with the Oxford Heath NHS Foundation Trust in the U.K., believes that doctors are prescribing these antipsychotic drugs due to a lack of resources for non-drug interventions.
“Clearly, doctors find compelling reasons to prescribe antipsychotics to patients with dementia, reasons that are unlikely to be found in the evidence base alone.”
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia
Nursing home residents suffering from dementia are indeed a difficult population to care for. That does not, however, condone the use of drugs to sedate patients so they become easier to care for. Nursing homes should provide competent, compassionate, and attentive care to your loved ones living in long term care facilities.
If you believe that the home in charge of your loved one’s care is acting negligently or abusively, contact the nursing home abuse lawyers of Messa & Associates, P.C. Call 1-800-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry. You may also click on the CHAT LIVE icon to the right to speak with a representative immediately.