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Compromised Care: Psychotropic Drugs are being given to Nursing home Patients Without Cause

A Chicago Tribune investigation has found that frail and vulnerable residents of nursing homes throughout Illinois are being given with powerful psychotropic drugs which lead to tremors, dangerous lethargy and a high risk of harmful falls or even death. Many of these elderly and disabled people have been drugged without their consent or without a legitimate psychiatric diagnosis that would justify this sort of treatment. One 74-year-old man was in a nursing home near Peoria for less than a day before staff members held him down and injected him with a large amount of antipsychotic drug. He fell a few hours later and suffered a fatal head injury. One woman was given a psychotropic drug partly because she refused to wear a bra. The Tribune investigation revealed that there were 1,200 violations at Illinois nursing homes that involved psychotropic drugs. The FDA has previously released information that thousands of nursing home residents die each year because antipsychotic drugs are administered to patients who are not mentally ill. Illinois nursing home residents are placed on antipsychotic medications for such reasons as “restlessness, anxiety or confusion.” It appears that by placing residents on this medication it makes the residents easier to care for. Yet, common side effects include severe lethargy, permanent involuntary muscle movements, seizures and sudden death. Heritage Nursing Home in Chicago was investigated and found to have tried giving an antipsychotic drug to a refusing patient. Finally, a nurse gave the patient, one without any history of heart troubles, the drug without telling him. At Heartland Health Care Center in Moline an 83-year-old woman was placed on Hadol without any diagnosis of mental illness. To read more about the psychotropic drugs, please click the link.