A new report by CANHR, the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, has found 147 violations of state rules regarding the use of antipsychotics in residents in 24 nursing homes throughout California. CANHR characterizes the misuse of antipsychotic drugs as “rampant” and states that immediate reform is urgently necessary.
The agency claims that the overprescription and misuse of these antipsychotic drugs is one of the leading instances of elder abuse in nursing homes. The majority of the prescribed drugs are “off-label,” meaning that they have not been FDA-approved to combat dementia. Several of the prescribed drugs can increase and almost double the risk of death in an elderly patient — a fact that leads CANHR to say that these practices directly jeopardize the health and lives of elderly patients in nursing homes. After a drawn-out campaign by CANHR to stop the use of these drugs in nursing homes, the California Department of Public Health launched an investigation and recently published their results: 147 violations in 24 facilities across the state.
Although there was a variety of violations, most fell into one of three categories: failure to obtain informed consent from the residents or their responsible parties before prescribing medication; unnecessary and/or excessive use of drugs; and deficient pharmaceutical consultant services.
According to CANHR, these findings reveal a “terrible problem” with regards to nursing home medical prescriptions. The investigation is a step in the right direction, but the Department of Public Health has more work to do to ensure that nursing homes provide the highest quality of care to their patients.
For more information on nursing home abuse, or if you or a family member has been the victim of nursing home abuse, contact the Evans Law Firmin California for a free and confidential consultation.