When you have a loved one in a nursing home, you expect him or her to receive the correct dose of medication. In the U.S., hundreds of thousands of people receive antipsychotic drugs while in a nursing home. According to Human Rights Watch, almost 180,000 people receive antipsychotics without an appropriate diagnosis.
In many cases, a nursing home may be administering too many pills to a patient.
Why do caregivers administer antipsychotics?
In understaffed facilities, a caregiver may administer antipsychotics to sedate a patient. Throughout the country, there is a problem with understaffed nursing homes. With the understaffing and the lack of training, nurses cannot provide comprehensive or individualized care. This leads some caregivers to take extreme measures to keep patients docile. There are very few benefits to giving a patient without a mental illness an antipsychotic medication.
How can caregivers administer antipsychotics?
Staff in nursing homes should not give antipsychotics to patients who do not need them. There are federal regulations that state patients can refuse treatment and the caregivers must obtain consent to provide antipsychotic treatment. Many of these cases involve nurses administering the drugs with no consent. Instead, they use the medications for chemical restraint and violate the resident’s rights.
When a nurse or other caregiver gives the patient antipsychotic drugs without a medical reason, it can increase the patient’s risk of death. Many of the patients within nursing homes already have illnesses and conditions that make them frail and vulnerable. They depend on the facility and the caregivers who administer the drugs break their trust and may even cause serious harm to the patients.