The Way Antipsychotics Are Used in Nursing Homes Called “A form of elder abuse” by Patient Advocates

Patricia McGinnis, executive director of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said nursing homes must be “accountable” for the drugs they administer. “The way anti-psychotic drugs are used in nursing homes is a form of elder abuse,” McGinnis told the forum. “Instead of providing individualized care, many homes indiscriminately use these drugs to sedate and subdue residents.”

Nursing homes are seeking to end the psychiatric drug stupor

The dangers of [psychiatric ] drugs: The drugs are especially hazardous to older people, raising the risk of strokes, pneumonia, confusion, falls, diabetes and hospitalization. “There’s a bunch of problems, not least of which is those drugs can kill you,” said Dr. Mark Kunik at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who spoke last month at the Gerontological Society of America’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Instead of looking for causes of disruptive behavior among dementia patients, doctors typically prescribe drugs to mask the symptoms, he said, because “It’s the easy thing to do. … That’s true in hospitals, in clinics and in nursing homes.” Federal regulators are cracking down on homes that don’t routinely reassess residents on psychotropic drugs. But use remains widespread.

1 out of every 7 Elderly Nursing Home Residents on Antipsychotics—Despite Risk of Death

Long-term-care (LTC) facilities are overusing antipsychotic drugs. One of every 7 elderly nursing home residents is receiving at least 1 atypical antipsychotic; in 83% of these cases, the drug is associated with a dementia diagnosis, yet the use of atypical antipsychotics in dementia increases the risk of death and is not approved by FDA, according to a report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).