A new report published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates that many U.S. nursing homes continue to overmedicate residents with antipsychotics. While nursing home providers have stated that they have implemented changes in order to reduce the use of antipsychotics among residents, advocacy groups say this is not the case. Antipsychotics have been a source of controversy within nursing homes for several years now, especially since the amount of preventable deaths has increased and is linked to the powerful drugs.
For example, Jessie Stagner’s family noticed an immediate downward spiral in her health – both mentally and physically. After she broke her hip and went to live in a nursing home in Austin, Stagner’s doctor began prescribing her Risperdal, an antipsychotic. Stagner’s family says they kept her on the drug, completely immobilizing her and dramatically impacting her mental state. Stagner sadly passed away at the age of 96 in the same nursing home.
Like many families, Stagner’s had no idea that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had never approved Risperdal to treat symptoms of dementia. In fact, the FDA had issued a black box warning that linked Risperdal to an “increased risk of death among elderly dementia patients.” Despite these warnings, nursing homes throughout Texas and the U.S. are still prescribing Risperdal and other antipsychotics to patients in order to help them “calm down.”
Antipsychotics Misused in Nursing Homes
Numerous advocacy groups have spoken out in an attempt to raise awareness about this growing problem. While the CMS reports an 8 percent decrease in the number of nursing home residents being given antipsychotics in 2017 from 2011, advocacy groups like the Center for Medicare Advocacy and AARP Foundation Litigation say nursing homes are finding other medications to sedate residents.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 270,000 nursing home residents suffering from dementia in 2008 were given antipsychotics, despite the fact these drugs were not approved to treat these conditions. Today, an estimated 180,000 nursing home residents are being given antipsychotics every week without a diagnosis for what these drugs are intended to treat.
Nursing home abuse and neglect continues to be a serious problem in the United States. Not only are residents often neglected and mistreated, but they are also given medications that they do not need. If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse in Dallas, please contact Wormington & Bollinger. Our Dallas nursing home abuse lawyers will fight for you and your loved ones and make sure those responsible are held accountable.