A report from Human Rights Watch has shown that many nursing homes are using antipsychotic drugs on their residents as a chemical restraint, often without the informed consent of the residents or their family. Anyone in Arizona who has an elderly loved one in a nursing home should be aware of this widespread trend. Some families report that their loved ones lost their personalities or suffered from increased anxiety because of overmedication.
Human Rights Watch has stated that over 179,000 people are abused in this way every week in the U.S. At least 16 percent are given drugs without an appropriate diagnosis, which is a violation of federal regulations. Overmedication could even be taken as a violation of international human rights laws, as it is mainly a way for nursing home workers to suppress what they consider disruptive behavior in patients.
Dementia patients are especially affected by the overuse of antipsychotic drugs. These drugs have never been deemed safe or effective for dementia by the FDA, and studies have shown that they actually double the risk for death. These drugs come with a "black box" warning about the risks they pose to dementia patients, but many nursing home staff members either ignore them or keep the families uninformed when requesting their consent.
Patients who meet with this kind of hospital negligence may have the grounds for a malpractice claim. If successful, a claim against the facility could result in compensation covering everything from medical expenses to pain and suffering. An attorney can often be of assistance in this regard.