Another 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.