Nursing Home Patients and Over Prescribed Medication that can lead to Death

blog april 24 photo about nursing homes pillsAnother way that people in nursing homes are abused is by the overuse of Anti-Psychotic drugs such as Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Abilify.  Under the right circumstances, these drugs can be very beneficial.  Under the wrong circumstances or in the wrong doses, however, these drugs can cause catastrophic injuries or death in a nursing home or treatment care facility.  It has been shown that these drugs have been overused in nursing homes leading to catastrophic injuries and death.

These and other similar drugs are most commonly prescribed to treat people with bi-polar or schizophrenia conditions.  Doctors are now, however, prescribing these drugs to nursing home residents suffering from dementia  and to other adults suffering from insomnia.  In fact, approximately 22 percent of all nursing home residents in the United States are prescribed these and other anti-psychotic drugs.  Although some patients do benefit from these drugs, it has been shown that these drugs are now commonly over prescribed.

The American Psychiatric Association launched an initiative to help curtail the overuse of anti-psychotics in an effort to inform the public about the potential risks of overuse, USA Today reported.  Joel Yager, a psychiatry professor at the University of Colorado Boulder reported to USA Today that doctors “are doing what they think might help,” but they are relying too heavily on these drugs without trying other alternatives first or carefully evaluating the effects anti-psychotics have on their patients.

Other reasons these drugs have been used is to restrain unruly patients, which is no longer legal, and, it is believed that the use of these drugs is in response to inadequate staffing in nursing home.

It is not uncommon for a nursing home patient to take several different medications each day and antipsychotic drugs can interact negatively with their other medications and can further heavily sedate an elderly person, which in turn can make them become unresponsive or unconscious. These drugs can also make a nursing home resident more prone to falls and other injuries. Use of these drugs has also been tied to an increase risk of strokes and respiratory conditions as well.


Detecting Abuse and Neglect in Georgia Nursing Homes


In Georgia, there are millions of elderly people living in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.  As our “baby boomers” age, this number will increase.  The National Center on Elder Abuse  projects that approximately 20 percent of the American population will be aged 65 or older by 2050. Some of this growing elder population will be able to stay in their homes.  Many, however, will have to spend their golden years in a Georgia nursing home or assisted living center.

With more elderly persons entering nursing homes, it is important that their families and friends are able to identify the signs of elder abuse and neglect so they can take action if it occurs. Federal regulations state that individuals living in nursing homes have, among other things, “the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical and mental abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion,” among other rights.  Often and sadly, these Rights are ignored and violated with an estimated one in ten elders facing abuse or neglect in a long-term care facility or their homes

The first thing we must do is understand what abuse and neglect is, first and foremost.

The National Council on Elderly Abuse  defines abuse as, among other things; an intentional infliction of injury or harm; intimidation; involuntary confinement; deprivation of care or service; and punishment that results in pain, physical harm or mental anguish.

Neglect is defined as; a willful or unintentional failure to care for or provide necessary services; and failing to react to a potentially harmful or dangerous situation which results in anxiety, catastrophic injury, or death.

Abuse and neglect can take many forms. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, and it is not uncommon for an elderly person to be subjected to more than one form of abuse.


Nursing Home Can be Sued in Spite of Contract Provisions GA; Don’t sign away your legal rights!

Senior couple meeting with agentMany nursing homes go out of their way to protect themselves legally in the admission contracts they make with their residents.  These contracts often state that if the nursing home does something wrong that the resident and their family will be limited in their right to compensation.  Residents who sign these agreements usually assume they have no other choice.  Sometimes, however, families can be compensated in spite of what the contract says.

For example, many of these contracts contain Arbitration Clauses.  The Arbitration Clause may say that if there is a legal dispute, that the family can not sue in a court of law and must instead go through the process of Arbitration to resolve the dispute.  The process of Arbitration is explained in greater detail in my website.

Arbitration can be either binding or non-binding.  Binding Arbitration means that whatever decision is rendered during the Arbitration process can not be appealed to a court of law and is binding on the parties.  Non-binding Arbitration, on the other hand, means that the parties go through the process of Arbitration, but that either party may appeal the Arbitration decision to a court of law.