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Antipsychotic Drug Use in Nursing Homes May Change if New Law is Passed

By The Law Office of WT Johnson on October 5, 2012

Nursing homes currently do not have to follow any standardized protocol to obtain informed consent before administering antipsychotic drugs to elderly patients. According to a news report from McKnights.com, Congress is considering passing a new law, The Improving Dementia Care Treatment in Older Adults Act. If passed, the law will require nursing homes to help residents and their families understand the dangers of a drug before giving consent.

Texas nursing homes would also be required to produce monthly aggregate reports on how the facilities are using antipsychotic drugs. If this law is passed, it could decrease the improper or dangerous use of these drugs in favor of safer alternatives.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 25.2 percent of nursing home residents received antipsychotic medications in 2011. Nursing homes use these powerful drugs to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia and psychotic symptoms such as delusion. The drugs are also sometimes used for the treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms associated with dementia.

However, there have also been cases of nursing homes using these potentially dangerous drugs without proper consent. In some of the worst cases, nursing homes have used these drugs to sedate residents so employees won’t have to pay attention to them. And understaffed nursing homes have been known to use this as a means to silence or subdue hostile patients instead of exploring safer alternatives.

If you think your loved one might have been given drugs without proper consent, you have a right to ask questions, file a report on the nursing home and speak with an attorney who can help. Don’t wait another day. Your loved one’s health may depend on it.

The Dallas nursing home abuse lawyers at the Law Office of W.T. Johnson can help you ensure that your loved one is getting the best care. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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