Families who send their elderly loved ones to nursing homes expect they will receive the medical treatment and care they need. However, loved ones may be subjected to malpractice such as medication errors including receiving the wrong prescription drug, and inaccurate dosing.
Nursing homes may also give residents antipsychotic medications even when they provide only a marginal clinical benefit. They may be overprescribed as a means of behavioral control for people with dementia. The behaviors that those may try to control include agitation, aggression, and hallucinations. Patients are also often being prescribed multiple drugs, sometimes as many as ten or more. The use of these drugs however can result in increased risk of falls, cognitive decline, and loss of language. In addition these drugs could have serious side effects, including death.
An analysis of nursing homes in the United States showed that one out of every five residents has been prescribed antipsychotic medications. Of the patients prescribed the medication, more than twenty percent were prescribed at least one antipsychotic medication. Some of these prescriptions would normally be prescribed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
There may be instances where medications that are not prescribed or medications are used in higher doses in order to subdue patients. Some administrators may also condone or even encourage this behavior if it means subduing unruly and disruptive residents. Unfortunately this may be a common and growing problem. Since, physically restraining patients with straps and belts has become illegal in almost all situations, some have suggested that drugs are being used instead as a means of control. However, chemically restraining patients decreases the quality of life and may even result in death.
If your elderly family has been the victim of nursing home abuse, including inappropriate use of antipsychotics contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.
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