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Senators Advocate for Passage of Bill to Prevent Misuse of Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes

It’s an unfortunate situation that’s being played out in nursing homes across the country: antipsychotic drugs being used on residents of long-term care facililties as chemical restraints.

According to TheConsumerVoice.org, patients in these facilities are being placed on antipsychotic medications, even though they have no proper diagnosis to warrant their use. For example, 26% of all nursing home residents are given antipsychotic medication and use is higher with dementia patients (nearly 40%).

What’s shocking is that the risks from these medications are sometimes not discussed with residents or their families, even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDS) has warned that these patients are at risk of medical complications and death from taking this type of medication. In long-term care patients, antipsychotic medications can:

  • Place them at increased risk of injury, harm, and death
  • Be used as a chemical restraint
  • Destroy the quality of life and dignitiy of nursing home residents
  • Cost long-term care consumers billions of dollars

Support is being sought to pass S. 3604, the Improving Dementia Care Treatment for Older Adults Act, introduced by Senators Kohl (D-WI), Grassley (R-IA), and Blumental (D-CT). The bill would require nursing homes to obtain informed consent before an antipsychotic medication is prescribed for a resident with dementia. It also contains other provisions, such as education for prescribers; monthly reports on instances where antipsychotics are administered to nursing home residents with dementia for uses not approved by the FDA; and a study on the appropriate prescribing of antipsychotics for hospital patients.

We support this bill as those of us who have loved ones suffering from dementia want to be sure the medications being used on them are appropriate for their diagnosis.We hope for the bill’s speedy passage in the Senate.