Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
Drugging of nursing home residents has become an enormous problem in this country. Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading humanitarian watchdog groups, recently released a report slamming the nonconsensual drugging of nursing home residents. In an average week, according to the report, nursing facilities in the United States administer antipsychotic drugs to over 179,000 people who do not have diagnoses for which the drugs are approved. The aim is to keep patients docile. But the drugs put the patients’ lives and quality of life at severe risk. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm represent nursing home abuse victims in Santa Clara County and throughout California want to bring the story to your attention. If you or someone you know is suffering from nursing home abuse in Santa Clara County or elsewhere in California, call the nursing home abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm today at 415-441-8669, and we can help.
Antipsychotic drugs alter consciousness and can adversely affect an individual’s ability to interact with others. This has an especially troubling effect on the elderly confined to nursing homes. The medicated patients, dulled by the drugs’ effects, make it easier for nursing homes to manage the people who live there. It also allows for understaffing to be covered up. Many nursing facilities, according to the report, have staffing levels well below what experts consider the minimum needed to provide appropriate care. The drugs act as chemical restraints on patient behavior, facilitate neglect and abuse and function as a convenience for the staff, as a mechanism to control people who may be difficult to manage. Often, the drugs are dispensed without the knowledge and consent of the patients and their loved ones.
The use of antipsychotic drugs to control people without their knowledge or against their will in nonemergency situations violates international human rights, according to Human Rights Watch. Federal and State laws are meant to protect patients from nonconsensual drugging. The report, however, indicates that these laws are not enforced as they should be. Non-enforcement further fuels a growing problem as America’s population rapidly ages. Older people now account for one in seven Americans, almost 50 million people. The number of older Americans is expected to double by 2060. The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is expected to increase from 5 million today to 15 million in 2050. As the Human Rights Watch report concludes, the system of long-term care services and supports will have to meet the needs—and respect the rights—of this growing population in coming years.
Protecting Yourself And Your Loved Ones
It is important to be vigilant about preventing elder abuse, both in Santa Clara County nursing homes and throughout the State of California. As a loved one of a senior in a nursing home, keep a close eye on the care and medications your loved one receives. Federal and state governments need to do more to ensure that the rights of residents are adequately protected but the best protection of your loved one may come from you.
If you or a loved one is or has been the victim of nursing home abuse in Santa Clara County, or in any California county, contact Ingrid Evans and the other nursing home abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.