There are many forms of nursing home negligence that can cause serious harm to residents. The possibility of nursing home abuse is a major concern for many families who have loved ones in these facilities. Improper restraints are one form of abuse that may be committed by a nursing home’s staff, and this includes the use of drugs to sedate patients or prevent behaviors that staff members consider to be troublesome. Chemical restraints are used far more frequently than many people realize. Family members should be aware of the potential situations in which this type of abuse may occur and their options for addressing this issue.
Schizophrenia Diagnoses and Antipsychotic Drugs
Nursing home residents may receive a variety of different types of drugs to treat their medical conditions. However, these drugs should be used to meet a patient’s medical needs rather than to serve the interests of a nursing home or its staff members. Unfortunately, some nursing homes use antipsychotic drugs or other types of medications as sedatives for residents with dementia in an effort to make these patients easier to manage.
To prevent the improper use of these types of medications, the federal government requires nursing homes to report on the number of patients who are prescribed antipsychotic drugs. However, the law makes an exception for patients who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. This has resulted in a 70 percent increase in the number of schizophrenia diagnoses in nursing homes since 2012. Even though around 0.7 percent of the population are affected by schizophrenia, one out of every nine nursing home residents in the United States have been diagnosed with this condition, and around 21 percent of nursing home patients have been prescribed antipsychotic medications.
Nursing homes may encourage doctors to diagnose patients with schizophrenia in order to get around their reporting requirements. Using antipsychotic drugs may make it easier for staff members to manage patients with dementia or other conditions, and this practice is more likely to occur at nursing homes that are understaffed. However, these drugs can cause multiple types of health issues for nursing home residents. They often cause patients to become drowsy, increasing the chances of fall injuries. Antipsychotic drugs may also lead to infections or heart problems, and the risk of death for elderly dementia patients is doubled when they use these drugs.
Contact Our Decatur Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys
If your loved one has suffered harm because of the use of antipsychotic drugs, or if you suspect that they have experienced other forms of nursing home abuse, Kanoski Bresney can help you determine your legal options. We will work with you to hold a negligent nursing home responsible for your loved one’s injuries. Contact our Bloomington nursing home injury lawyers at 888-826-8682 to set up a free consultation.