Earlier this week Trial Magazine published a story on the distressing news coming out of an investigation into the use of atypical antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes. Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorney Steve Levin was interviewed for the story, providing insight on the situation culled from his many years representing those who have received these drugs inappropriately.
Steve noted how many facilities use these drugs “because it’s easier to control the patient and requires fewer staff. However, nursing home should never use antipsychotic drugs for the purpose of convenience.”
These drugs often create unnecessary risks of injury and even death. That is why antipsychotic medication like Seroquel, Risperdal, and Zyprexa come with a specific black box warning that off-label uses may increase the risk of death in elderly patients with dementia.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes continue to feed residents these pills with little appreciation for the effect on the individual’s overall health and quality of life. As Steve notes, “Our anecdotal evidence suggests that when the resident is placed on these drugs, something bad happens. Attorneys should never ignore the role that these types of drugs might play in cases involving nursing home neglect.”
The investigation which spurred the story was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services by looking at reimbursement claims submitted to Medicare. Overall, 76 percent of claims for these drugs were for off-label conditions and dementia.
Investigative information like this should rightly upset everyone who cares about safety for elderly community members and for honest use of federal resources. The General Inspector of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted how “Government, taxpayers, nursing home residents, as well as their families and caregivers should be outraged and seek solutions. It is of great concern that so many nursing home residents are prescribed these drugs in the first place.”
Our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers at Levin & Perconti know that the all local homes must take account of the quality of life of their residents. The growing and continuous problem of the unnecessary chemical restraints cannot be tolerated. We urge all advocates pay attention to the use of these medications in nearby homes to ensure others do not become victims of this unnecessary drugging.
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