Sedating difficult residents or those with dementia has become a serious issue in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities nationwide. The misuse of antipsychotic drugs is also on the rise, according to a recent report by CNN.
Overmedication is often a sign of nursing home neglect in Mobile. With an emphasis on reducing abuse and enhancing patient care, state and federal laws continue to limit or ban use of physical restraints on elderly patients. However, "chemical restraint" has become the new means of exerting patient control while maintaining minimum staffing and maximizing profits at far too many nursing homes in Alabama.
Chemical Restraints and Overmedication in Nursing Homes
A recent report by Human Rights Watch found that more than 179,000 nursing home residents are given antipsychotic medications each week despite not having the proper diagnoses to warrant the use of such drugs.
In the past three years, federal inspectors have issued more than 7,000 citations to facilities for violations tied to the use of antipsychotic medications.
Such tactics not only reduce a patient's quality of life and limit the ability to visit with friends and loved ones, but also cause a host of other medical problems, including blood clots, low blood pressure and high blood sugar.
The truth of the matter is that even properly medicated seniors face a host of additional challenges from possible drug interactions to falls and loss of appetite. Too often, family members may assume changes in a loved one's behavior are attributable to unavoidable cognitive decline.
Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Claims in Alabama
Keeping seniors safe is a critical issue as the Baby Boomer population continues to age. The U.S. Census Bureau expects the number of people over the age of 65 to double to 100 million in the coming years. The number of Alzheimer's patients is expected to more than triple, from 5 million to 16 million, during the same period of time.
Nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys know it is the responsibility of everyone visiting these facilities to make sure residents are receiving proper care. Most of the nation's nursing beds are operated by large for-profit corporations. These companies are increasingly requiring residents to sign arbitration agreements, which attempt to limit residents' access to the courts.
The CMS recently lifted an Obama-era ban on nursing home arbitration agreements. As a result, residents, and their families, are forced to sign arbitration agreements on admission. This often means less liability placed on nursing homes in the event of abuse or neglect.
In many cases, these agreements are signed by relatives on behalf of a resident, which can create issues of consent. Consulting with a law firm experienced in handling elder neglect and abuse cases is critical to determine whether an elderly loved one has suffered abuse or substandard care.