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Pile On The Medication

Old?  Weak? Tired? Have dementia?  The answer to these ailments in some nursing homes is to prescribe antipsychotic drugs to subdue any signs of energy and life left in residents suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  A whopping one-third of all nursing home residents are prescribed antipsychotic drugs such as: Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa.

Pile On The MedicationPrescription of antipsychotic drugs is big business for their makers.  Sales of Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa have more than tripled from 2000 to 2007.  Dispensation of the drugs is also often profitable for the facilities where the patients reside.  Every time medication is given, it is an opportunity for a nursing home to charge.  Most often the charges are tacked onto the Medicare and Medicaid tab.

Use of antipsychotic drugs continues despite recent studies that have demonstrated their ineffectiveness in Alzheimer’s patients with aggressiveness and delusions.  The wide spread use of antipsychotic drugs covers up the fact that most facilities are understaffed.  It is far easier to have a patient down a couple of pills than to provide skilled nurses, psychiatrists and therapists to treat their underlying needs.

Read the full New York Times article on overuse of medication in dementia here.

For more information on nursing homes in New York look here. For laws related to New York nursing homes, look here.
Click on the links for information on nursing homes in New York , Buffalo and Rochester

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  • Cheryl

    My father has resided in a nursing home in CT for the past 3 years. He turned 90 in January. He has Alzheimer’s (late stage). We have had a problem with proper hydration and most recent improper communication with condition change. We think my father suffered a mild stroke, he no longer has strenth in right arm and leg, and I also noticed his chewing and swallowing was affected. I have repeatedly complained to everyone from Administrator, Medical director, nursing supervisor, charge nurse, I feel like we are getting a run around! My sister and I wanted to pull the progress notes from that week and get a copy of the cat scan results (which by the way we had to initiate getting on my father, which didn’t happen till 3 days after change was noticed) We are getting run around for that too. A wonderful nurse on 2nd shift did her own investigation on what might have been cause and she noticed he might be at toxic level from depokte, also hasn’t had a liver function test in 1 year. He was on depokte and serequel. 125m depokte, 50m serequel. They stopped the serequel supposedly, and I don’t know about the depokte. They told me blood tests came back normal and liver function test normal. I didn’t get report of change on my father until 2 days after cna noticed a something was wrong with him. Of course I blame the nurse on charge that day! I also want to know protocal on looking at my fathers’ chart.

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