Yesterday we posted a story on the new federal report which found massive misuse of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes. An even closer look at the report indicates how the inappropriate use of these substances acts as a violation of federal Medicare law. Illinois nursing home lawyers are well versed in the ways that many local facilities continue to skirt requirements at the state and federal level, and this issue is no exception.
For example, Medicare standards require that nursing home drug plans not involve what are deemed “unnecessary drugs.” That standard includes medication in excessive doses, for longer than needed, without proper monitoring, with insufficient indications of effectiveness, and with too many negative side effects.
Another requirement does not allow nursing home residents to be given antipsychotic drugs for the first time unless it is for specific diagnosed and documented condition in their medical record. In other words, nursing homes are never supposed to use these drugs as mere “chemical restraints” which essentially dull many residents so that they are easier for employees to handle. Of course, the huge downside on the quality of life of the resident should alone be enough to stop this dangerous practice.
Many family members notice the effects of this unnecessary use of antipsychotic drugs soon after their loved one enters a facility. The sluggishness, loss of excitement, energy, and engagement with life is a prime indicator of overuse and unnecessary use of these substances.
Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti believe that the quality of life of nursing home residents must be prioritized by their caregivers. This federal study sheds light on the massive problem of unnecessary chemical restraints that continue to be placed on residents to their harm. Be sure to keep a close eye on your loved ones in area nursing homes to ensure that they do not become victims of this unnecessary drug use.
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