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3 dangers of psychotropic drugs in nursing homes

When you make the difficult decision to transition your elderly parent into a nursing home, you doubtlessly trust that the facility you choose will provide adequate care. The last thing you would expect is that the professionals working there would be negligent and perhaps even abusive towards your loved one. Unfortunately, however, this happens more frequently than you might think.

One of the most common forms of abuse in nursing homes is the misadministration of medication. This is particularly true of psychotropic drugs. While such prescriptions are sometimes necessary for patients, they can also become dangerous if the staff does not handle them with care.

Improper use

If you suspect that staff improperly gave your loved one psychotropic drugs, you should first consider what the apparent necessity was. If the nursing home staff claim they administered the drugs for a specific reason, you should be sure to verify whether this was a diagnosis made by a medical doctor, and if so, what symptomatic evidence indicates that the drug was the best treatment.

Family not notified

According to AARP, one man in a nursing home lost his life because the staff gave him psychotropic drugs and did not inform his family. Had they received such notification, they could have avoided the known danger the drug posed to dementia patients. Even if such a drug is not a danger to a patient to this extent, staff should always inform the family of the patient of any medical treatment or prescriptions they are giving the individual.

Risk to patients

Any unnecessary medical treatment poses a risk to patients. Most psychotropic drugs are strong and come with a number of potential side effects, so even when a nursing home legitimately prescribes and uses them, they can pose a risk to elderly patients. It is typically best to explore alternative options for treatment before considering psychotropic drugs for nursing home residents.

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