We have some good news for California nursing home residents and the loved ones who are concerned for their well-being: California nursing homes have cut down significantly on the use of anti-psychotic drugs. Anti-psychotic medications, when used on residents with dementia or schizophrenia, can be helpful. However, when the medications are misused or abused, that’s when issues start to arise.
Perhaps due to the number of complaints relating to the abuse of anti-pyschotic medication in nursing homes, Federal officials started tracking the use of the drugs. As a result, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees care for the elderly and poor, mandated a 15% cut in the usage in 2012 and required nursing homes to utilize a new training method that uses alternative treatment methods.
Again, anti-psychotic medications are designed to be given to nursing home residents with dementia or schizophrenia. People with dementia often develop behavioral issues including agitation, anxiety, screaming, wandering and resisting the care of people working with them and anti-psychotic medication can be used when behavioral treatment to control symptoms has not proven effective. Some nursing homes or care facilities, however, tragically use anti-psychotics as a way to “chemically restrain” their patients. Chemical restraint is often a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect. Anti-psychotics medications can cause serious side effects (including increasing the risk of stroke and death) especially when not used properly.
This problem is a national one. In fact, in November of 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Johnson & Johnson had agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion dollars to resolve criminal and civil charges involving the misuse of antipsychotic drugs. Johnson & Johnson allegedly engaged in off-label marketing of the antipsychotic drug ‘Risperdal’ for nursing home residents who have dementia, but no diagnosis of psychosis, and to have paid kickbacks to physicians and pharmacists to prescribe Risperdal. These are the types of mind-blowingly unfair abuses of power that need to be addressed by an aggressive trial lawyer.
If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact an experienced Los Angeles nursing home abuse attorney who will fight for his or her rights and ensure that the wrongdoers are held accountable.
For more information on nursing home abuse, contact BIKLAW today.