Overmedication Is a Common Form of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms. Elder abuse includes the overmedication of seniors, especially those who are suffering from varying degrees of dementia. Unfortunately, this illegal abuse can be injurious or even deadly for the victim.
For nursing home staff, dementia patients can be more difficult to deal with due to the symptoms of the disease. As a result, caregivers who do not know what to do or do not want to practice appropriate levels of care will administer antipsychotic medications to help pacify these residents.
It is important to note that this can happen to any senior at a nursing home, not just dementia patients. However, a National Public Radio report said that around 300,000 U.S. nursing home residents are currently being treated with antipsychotic medications for mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The issue lies in the fact that that most of these patients do not need the medication because they have not been diagnosed with these conditions. The drugs are merely being used to control patients to help staff members.
It was also discovered that 88 percent of Medicare claims for antipsychotic drugs for nursing home residents were for those said to have dementia. However, these medications are not approved to treat dementia.
There can also be severe side effects to these drugs. When medication is abused, the senior’s personality can change. There also is an increased risk of falling, which itself can cause serious or even life-threatening injuries. Also, overmedication can result in significant health conditions (e.g., stroke, heart attack, attempted suicide) and death.
Tragically, overmedication is happening daily at nursing homes around the U.S. Resorting to easy ways to control patients sometimes seems like the best option instead of properly caring for the elderly. If a resident experiences an injury or death due to overmedication, the victim or a family member can pursue a damage claim for the nursing home abuse that occurred.
If you suspect someone has been the victim of nursing home abuse, call the attorneys at Garcia & Artigliere to help you retrieve the damages you deserve. Reach us today at (800) 328-2630.