Researchers Find Antipsychotic Medication Abuse in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are underreporting the use of antipsychotics, a new study has found.

Staff too often turn to antipsychotics to make their jobs easier, often to the detriment of the patients, a practice known as chemical restraint, and it is not new. For decades, rights groups and patient advocates have pushed to curtail the use of antipsychotic drugs on people living in nursing homes.

Experts from Northeastern University published their work in the journal Aging & Mental Health. The research compared trends in self-reported antipsychotic prescriptions to claims-based prescribing. In the review of self-reported data, from around 12,000 skilled nursing facilities, the researchers found the facilities did not report up to 6,000 people per calendar quarter who were being given antipsychotic drugs.

The drugs can be dangerous, known to cause sudden death and when used without the patient’s physician or family’s knowledge or consent, it is a haphazard tactic to say the least.

These findings echo years of reports from advocates and activists trying to stand up for patients rights.



Photo: “Last station nursing home” by Ulrich Joho is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0