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American Medical Directors Association Submits Resolution on Use of Atypical Antipsychotic Medication

Our Illinois personal injury lawyers know that mistreatment in long-term care facilities frequently involves small, systematic abuses that have cumulatively harmful effects on residents. These daily mistreatments are actually much more common than dramatic, one-time instances of neglect which most often grab newspaper headlines. For example, misuse of medications occurs consistently at assisted living facilities of all stripes with serious ramifications on the well-being of senior residents. Fortunately, over the past few months there has been more and more attention draw to the nursing home medication problems, particularly the troubling excessive use atypical antipsychotics.

Last week the American Medical Directors’ Association (AMDA) submitted a resolution to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates on that very topic. The group’s statement was entitled “Long Term Care Prescribing of Atypical Antipsychotic Medications,” and it urged the body to more closely look into the concerns about the dangers of these medications when given to seniors for off-label purposes. Specifically, the medical group’s resolution suggests that the AMA conduct a wide range of alternative activities besides medications to manage behavioral and psychological problems of nursing home residents. The AMDA further urges the body to support more research into medication alternatives and to collaborate with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on relevant educational tools and programs. Considering the scope of the misuse of these drugs in long-term care facilities in our area, our Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys fully support this latest call to action.

Increased attention being focused on this issue is a long-time coming. These drugs have very real effects on the quality of life of nursing home resident who receive them. Many local residents and their families are likely familiar with those effects. Residents are often left sluggish, inactive, and unable to meaningfully interact with those around them. Antipsychotic drugs may make residents a bit easier to handle for the nursing home staff members, but they have serious detrimental consequences on the quality of life of the residents who receive them. In many ways they are “chemical restraints” that inhibit the lives of seniors similar to actual restraints.

This resolution is part of a larger effort on the part of the AMDA to educate physicians about these senior citizen medication issues. Earlier this year the group released an educational manual which shared information with practitioners in the nursing home settings on ways to improve medication management and reduce the prevalence of medication errors. Part of that new manual was a lesson in the prescription of psychoactive agents, including guidance on the clinical and regulatory documentation involved in those prescriptions. Far too often, seniors receive these drugs in unregulated amounts and in excessive quantities.

If you or a loved one has concerned about the misuse of medication in a long-term care facility-or any other potential nursing home abuse issue-be sure to get in touch with a legal professional and share your story. A nursing home neglect lawyer will be able to explain a few legal issues related to nursing home care and can guide you in your pursuit of accountability and justice.

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