NPR, Federal Government Data Confirm That Nursing Homes Routinely Overmedicate Residents

According to a recent story produced by National Public Radio, anti-psychotic medications, intended to treat serious conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are routinely used off-label to treat nursing home residents for alzheimer’s disease and dementia. These medications are often used when unnecessary as a means of controlling residents or chemically restraining active or talkative residents. Despite the fact that prescribing these medications, according to should only be done as a last resort and then only for short periods, for long periods of times is medically negCommon medications prescribed include Risperdal and Haldol, both of which can have long term side effects. Unfortunately, these medications carry with them a number of harmful side effects. In fact, according to Risperdal’s website, “Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are an an increased risk of death compared to placebo.” Furthermore, according to Dr.Bradley Williams, of the University of Southern California, these drugs can actually increase a patient’s risk of falls. This is particularly worrisome when past falls or risk factors for falls are often a primariy motivating factor in moving a loved one to a nursing home.

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