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U.S. Nursing Homes Overusing Anti-Psychotics to Pacify Dementia Patients • Mirror Daily

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Patient advocacy groups claim that overmedication of anti-psychotic drugs is still a huge problem at many nursing homes in the U.S., as the facilities use the powerful medication to pacify loud seniors such as those suffering from dementia.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the use of anti-psychotics on the elderly decreased from 24% two decades ago to 16% of the patients in 2017. Improvements have been reported in all 50 states.

However, experts are not convinced that things have changed that much in practice. U.S. nursing homes may now be using other types of sedatives to pacify their patients. The Center for Medicare Advocacy and other nonprofits that fight for patients’ rights said that even the 16% level of usage is still high.

Dementia and Anti-Psychotics Don’t Mix Well

Giving anti-psychotics to dementia patients poses a huge risk, as past studies have shown that the mix of dementia and anti-psychotic could be deadly for many patients.

Given the dire consequences, it should be zero,

Kelly Bagby of the  AARP Foundation Litigation said about the use of antipsychotics on such patients.

Bagby, who took part in many legal fights against nursing homes mistreating their patients, noted that the medication is used because it sedates the patients not because it benefits them.

The Human Rights Watch is now pushing for stronger regulatory protections for the elderly in nursing homes that are given anti-psychotics against their wish. One spokesperson for the group underlined that the protections look great “on paper,” while “in practice,” many health care facilities ignore the rules.

A decade ago, 270,000 dementia patients in nursing homes were being given the powerful class of drugs even though anti-psychotics have no real benefits in the case of dementia. Anti-psychotics are beneficial in conditions like bipolar disorders and schizophrenia.
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