Report: Nursing Homes Misuse Antipsychotic Drugs to Sedate Elderly Patients
Nursing homes are a critical need when it comes time to place an elderly family member for care and the decision to do so is frequently made with reluctance and a heavy heart; after all, you are placing the wellbeing of your loved one in the hands of strangers. As our Delray Beach nursing home neglect lawyers know, the last thing families of nursing home patients want to learn is that their loved ones have not been properly cared for by supposed caretakers. Even worse, however, might be the eventual discovery that, for years, a loved one was being drugged with prescription pills they should’ve never been given.
A Report On Nursing Homes and Abuse
According to a stunning—and upsetting—new report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW), nursing homes throughout the United States—including in Florida—have engaged in the systematic “treating” unsuspecting, elderly patients suffering from dementia with unprescribed antipsychotic medications as a way to, essentially, keep them quiet. Family members of the victims have described their loved ones turning from personality-filled people into zombies as a result of the dosing. The practice of feeding antipsychotic drugs to those who don’t need them is not isolated; according to the HRW report, “[i]n an average week, nursing facilities in the United States administer antipsychotic drugs to over 179,000 people who do not have diagnoses for which the drugs are approved.” Further, “drugs are often given without … consent.” As our injury attorneys understand, there are nearly 700 licensed nursing homes in Florida; this problem hits close to home.
Nursing Homes Are Breaking The Law
The practice of plying unaware nursing home residents with powerful drugs they don’t need is not only morally wrong—it’s against the law. Fla. Stat. § 400.022 provides that nursing home residents have the right to “be adequately informed of his or her medical condition and proposed treatment,” along with the right to be “fully informed in advance of any nonemergency changes in care or treatment.” Additionally, the residents retain the right to “participate in the planning of all medical treatment, including the right to refuse medication and treatment.”(Emphasis added). Flying in the face of lawful conduct, according to an 81-year-old man quoted in the HRW report, when the patient tried to object to the drugging, the nursing home, the “caretakers” threatened to have him removed from the facility.”
Delray Beach Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys
In addition to being against the law, as our Delray Beach nursing home neglect team of lawyers knows, the nursing home facilities and their employees who engage in this practice already subject them to civil liability under tort law. The negative effects of treating an elderly individual with antipsychotic medication, when such medication is not prescribed, is often underestimated. Medicating elderly, vulnerable patients in this way can cause the victims to experienced blurred vision, dizziness, difficulty breathing, even death; additionally, the effects upon the victims can result in severe emotional distress for the family members who had been kept in the dark about the abuse.
Our South Florida team of injury lawyers hopes that nursing homes meet their obligations to the patients they serve and the families of those patients. If and when they fall short of their obligations, they should be held accountable.
If you have any questions about this or any other matter, or if you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence of another, please contact our Delray Beach medical malpractice lawyers at Aronberg, Aronberg & Green. To schedule a free consultation, you may call us at 561-266-9191 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to assisting you.