One indicator of a negligent nursing home is the extent to which their employees rely on chemical restraints to manage the residents in their care. As we have often shared, these “restraints” involve the overmedication of residents so that they remain in a dulled state—easier to manage but often incapable of living their lives in meaningful ways. Many Illinois nursing home lawsuits have involved the argument that chemical restraints represent a tragic and unnecessary theft of a nursing home resident’s ability to enjoy their friends, family, and surroundings.
New research published by Medical Page Today adds even more incentive for facilities to crack down on the practice, as these psychotropic drugs are often very dangerous for older patients. 11,000 residents using common antipsychotic drugs and antidepressants were found with dramatically heightened risk of death or serious complications when compared with residents given less common antipsychotic drugs.
Specifically, use of the usual drugs increased risk of death by a staggering 47%. Those same patients also had a 61% increased risk of femur fractures. The rise in risk was evident across virtually all forms of the drugs commonly used in nursing homes today.
The head of the research explains, “Our exploratory study adds to the growing evidence that conventional antipsychotics may be no safer for vulnerable adults than atypical antipsychotics…clinicians considering these medications for their older nursing home patients should weigh these risks…”