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Oversedation Of Nursing-Home Patients A Common Practice

Antipsychotic drugs present serious risks to elderly people suffering from dementia, including those with Alzheimer's. For these people, antipsychotic medication brings an increased risk of infections, heart failure and death. Yet, nursing homes continue to administer antipsychotic meds to patients suffering from dementia, sometimes even using antipsychotics as a means of controlling unwanted behavior.

Several years ago, the federal government began raising awareness of antipsychotic oversedation in U.S. nursing homes. Incredibly, oversedation continues at many Ohio nursing homes and throughout the country. And why? Because it's often easier for nursing homes to remedy unwanted behavior with medication than find the real cause of the problem - and a healthy, lasting solution.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is wise to review his or her medications. The Nation Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has an excellent page on mental health meds that may help you determine whether a drug is an antipsychotic.

Antipsychotics are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating behavior disorders in patients with dementia. If you discover that a nursing home is improperly administering an antipsychotic medication to your loved one and believe it caused harm or death, contact an experienced nursing home attorney to assess your options.

Source: ideastream.org, "Nursing Homes Rarely Penalized For Oversedating Patients," NPR News, Dec. 8, 2014

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