Ever go into a nursing home in the middle of the day? While the rest if the world busy about their business, many nursing home residents are sound asleep or staring blankly at the ceiling. Even may of the residents who appear to be awake have a dulled look in their eyes.
A new British Study suggests that many of the nursing home residents who appear to be in trances may be improperly medicated. In a study of 22 nursing homes, 51% of residents were give inappropriate drugs including anti-psychotics, antidepressants and painkillers. Frequently, anti-psychotic drugs are used to treat dementia and Alzheimer’s patients even though the drugs were not intended for those residents.
The use of medications is not only inappropriate it may be downright dangerous. Recently, evidence has come forward linking popular anti-psychotic medications such as: Clozaril, Risperdal, Abilify, Seroquil and Zyprexa to an increased risk of stroke.
At too many nursing homes and long-term care facilities over-medication of residents has become such an accepted part of the facilities culture that there may be little incentive to consider reducing or eliminating the medication all together. Further, some facilities wish to keep their residents medication level high to reduce the amount of work the nursing home staff needs to do with the residents. It may be easier to dish out pills than it is to interact with residents who may suffer from dementia or psychiatric problems.
If you believe your family member is inappropriately medicated or is over-medicated ask to speak with his or her physician. Do not take it upon yourself to reduce medication without the input of medical expertise.
Read more about the over medication of nursing home residents here.