Olga Berdé Mahl & Associates

Is your elderly loved one a victim of pharmaceutical abuse?

Loved ones of nursing home residents are on high alert this year -- and for good reason. A recent investigation revealed that nursing homes nationwide have been giving its residents antipsychotics without formal diagnoses.

Why are undiagnosed residents receiving medication?

Investigation uncovers widespread medication misuse

Last year, researchers from the Human Rights Watch launched an investigation into nursing homes around the country. Researchers visited more than 100 facilities conducting over 300 interviews with its residents and their families, nursing staff, government agencies and countless disability experts and advocates.

The report found that nearly 180,000 undiagnosed residents received antipsychotic drugs in 2017. In many cases, residents and their families had not been informed of the type of medications given and did not provide consent. Researchers who conducted the interviews believe that the drugs were provided in an attempt to sedate and punish residents who complained of pain in lieu of providing medical care.

The dangers of antipsychotics and dementia

Many question the safety of antipsychotic drug use even when individuals diagnosed with mental illness take it. When a person with dementia takes antipsychotic drugs they are at an increased risk of death. This danger is widely known due to the warnings contained on anti-psychotic medication bottles.

Despite the increased risk of death, undiagnosed residents with dementia were still given these types of drugs.

How loved ones can prevent pharmaceutical abuse

Family, friends and caregivers who fear for their loved ones’ well-being can take action to monitor their medical care. If authorized, they can request medical records from nursing staff and compare the records with the dispensing pharmacy’s refill history. Testing the resident’s blood levels and reviewing the report can be another way for a resident’s family to monitor medication management.

No matter the reason, loved ones may choose to speak with the facility’s nursing director about the medical care being received.

Everyone has the right to receive high-quality medical care. Nursing home facilities who breach their duty of fair can face legal repercussions. If you believe that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, a seasoned elder law attorney may help you to protect your vulnerable loved one.

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Olga Berdé Mahl & Associates

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New Rochelle, New York 10801

Phone: 914-336-2080
Phone: 917-723-6097
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