The use of antipsychotics in Illinois nursing homes is a growing problem that has serious consequences for your loved ones. If you believe your family member has been abused with use of antipsychotics, contact our nursing home abuse lawyer Quincy at 312-622-2900. Nursing homes are supposed to be safe places for seniors, but some use antipsychotics as a shortcut to control behavior instead of addressing the root causes of agitation.
Illinois nursing home abuse is a growing problem
Nursing home abuse is a growing problem across the United States. Abuse can take many forms, but it’s typically defined as any act of physical or emotional harm. Emotional abuse may include threats, intimidation or humiliation in order to control another person. Physical abuse might include slapping, hitting or punching someone. Sexual abuse involves inappropriate touching and/or intercourse without consent.
Nursing home residents are at risk of being abused by their caregivers or other residents living with them in their facility if they live somewhere that doesn’t have proper supervision. In addition, some of the elderly may not be able to speak up for themselves, which makes them more prone to being victims.
Misuse of antipsychotics
According to reports, nursing homes administer antipsychotic drugs to residents who don’t have a diagnosis that would require them. Most of these individuals have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
The impetus or motivation for misuse is obvious: convenience. These drugs can control behavioral and psychological symptoms associated with dementia, for example, aggression, agitation, irritability, and wandering. If residents are docile or sedated, less staff is need and the nursing homes can make a larger profit.
According to Human Rights Watch: “The drugs’ use as a chemical restraint—for staff convenience or to discipline or punish a resident—could constitute abuse under domestic law and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law.” If you suspect your loved one has been given antipsychotics that are not part of their treatment, contact our nursing home abuse lawyer Quincy for a consultation.
Risks and benefits of antipsychotics
Antipsychotic medications have risks and benefits. For example, when a person with dementia is psychotic and their behavior is unmanageable, they could pose a risk to themselves or others. In these cases, antipsychotic medications help manage people’s behavior by calming them down.
However, we need to use antipsychotics sparingly because there are many side effects associated with them. They can cause:
- weight gain
- increase the risk of stroke and diabetes
- strain the heart muscle
- cause low blood pressure
- make it hard to swallow
- make you sweat more than normal (sweating excessively)
- cause drowsiness or sleepiness (which can be dangerous if you’re driving)
- increase your risk of pneumonia by making it hard for you to cough up mucus in your lungs (which helps fight infections)
One of the biggest concerns is that antipsychotics — even at low doses — increase the risk of death among older adults with dementia.
Human Rights Watch notes that: “On paper, nursing home residents have strong legal protections of their rights, but in practice, enforcement is often lacking. Although the federal government has initiated programs to reduce nursing homes’ use of antipsychotic medications and the prevalence of antipsychotic drug use has decreased in recent years, the ongoing forced and medically inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs continues to violate the rights of vast numbers of residents of nursing facilities.”
If you suspect your loved one has been abused with antipsychotics, contact our nursing home abuse lawyer Quincy today
Administering antipsychotics can be illegal. This violation is enforceable and at Carlson Bier Associates, our nursing home lawyer Quincy can help you pursue justice. Contact us today at 312-622-2900. If you or someone close to you is suffering from abuse, please reach out to us so we can help. We are here 24/7 and ready to assist with any questions or concerns that you may have about your loved one’s care.