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Federal Prosecutors Focusing On Over medicating in Nursing Homes

Feds Hope Hitting Nursing Homes In The Wallet Will Cut Overmedication : Shots – Health News : NPR

Feds Hope Hitting Nursing Homes In The Wallet Will Cut Overmedication by INA JAFFE September 05, 2014 5:45 PM ET Listen to the Story All Things Considered 3 min 34 sec Download Transcript Federal prosecutors allege two nursing homes in California have “persistently and severely overmedicated elderly and vulnerable residents.” Antipsychotic drugs like risperidone, also known as Risperdal, can be dangerous for elderly people, but are frequently prescribed to nursing home patients. JB Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images A federal lawsuit against two Watsonville, Calif., nursing homes may offer a new approach to dealing with the persistent problem of such facilities overmedicating their residents. The lawsuit details multiple cases when the government says these drugs were inappropriately administered to patients. For instance when an 86-year-old man identified in the lawsuit as Patient 1 was admitted to Country Villa Watsonville West, he could speak clearly and walked in under his own power. Within days the facility began giving him Haldol and Risperdal, drugs used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and he became bedridden, stopped eating and developed bedsores and infections. “Within days he declined precipitously, to the point where he was read his last rites in the hospital,” says Tony Chicotel, a staff attorney with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform who represented the man and his family in a private suit that was settled out of court. “He subsequently recovered,” says Chicotel, “but all this had been done without his family’s knowledge, without his informed consent, without real good clinical indications for the use of the drug.”


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