Overmedication in Nursing Homes Is Robbing Children of their Parents
Caring for a sick parent is a heartbreaking experience, especially when the illness is incurable. Countless sons and daughters sit with their parents in nursing homes across the nation as their parents’ personalities fade quickly before them. A new report suggests that the nursing homes may be worsening this issue.
According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, titled “‘They want docile': How Nursing Homes in the United States Overmedicate People with Dementia,” former administrators confessed to hand out drugs without having the necessary diagnosis, informed consent, or divulging risks.
In February of this year, the hulking 157-page report states that over 179,000 people who reside in nursing homes in America are given antipsychotic medications despite not having an acceptable diagnosis (such as schizophrenia) every single week. Most of these patients are elderly and suffer from dementia. Writers of the report suggest that the antipsychotic medications are given out in order to be a cheaper “chemical restraint” to quell the patients’ behaviors in order to lighten the load a little bit for the overwhelmed staff, who are often overworked and underpaid.
While this news is horrifying, it is not altogether “new.” In October of 2017, CNN released a report titled “The little red pill being pushed to the elderly” that discussed the misuse and overuse of Nuedexta in American nursing facilities. To make matters worse, CNN found that that this overprescription made the drugmaker a significant amount of money. In fact, these hundreds of millions of dollars prompted CNN to investigate a California-based pharmaceutical company.
However, Nuedexta is not the only pill that is a part of this problem. According to the Human Rights Watch report, there are other concerns with nursing homes across the country giving out inappropriate drugs to unsuspecting patients.
In the time between October 2016 and March 2017, researchers visited 109 facilities throughout six states. Researchers spent a lot of time interviewing nursing home residents, patients’ families, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, long-term care experts, resulting in viewpoints from 323 different people. All of these perspectives painted a very dark picture for patients and families.
In fact, some families were unaware of the treatment patients were receiving.
Read on to learn more.