They can and they do. In fact, The Southern Illinoisan highlighted that during an Illinois State Capitol press conference, representatives of AARP stated that Illinois nursing homes have the “second-worst rate in the nation for giving antipsychotic drugs without a psychiatric diagnosis.”
Antipsychotic drugs, just like any other medication, is expected to be administered only to those patients who need the medicine and have authorization from a physician to take it. Unfortunately, that isn’t the viewpoint many nursing home staff members have, especially those who are overworked and assigned to take care of more patients than they are physically able to. While this practice may seem unethical and even illegal, one nurse witnessed it occurring in the facility she worked in.
After maintaining her nursing assistant certification for 11 years, Shantonia Jackson told The Southern Illinoisan that this was only one of many issues she has seen occur within the nursing homes she has been employed by. During the time Jackson was working for one facility in the Alzheimer’s unit, she found herself assigned to care for 15 residents at one time. She went on to say that in order to “keep residents sedated and more manageable, psychotropic drugs were often administered to keep them still.”
What risk do antipsychotic drugs pose to nursing home residents who haven’t been prescribed these medications but are still given them?
Administering any type of medication to a nursing home resident without physician authorization to do so poses many risks. The fact is, when an individual doesn’t have a certain health care condition that requires them to take these types of medications, it puts them at risk of suffering from additional illnesses and even death. According to National Public Radio, “Antipsychotic drugs, such as haloperidol and risperidone are FDA-approved for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but can increase the risk of death in older people who have dementia.” Sadly, many nursing homes, especially those that are understaffed, administer antipsychotic medicines to residents who have been diagnosed with some form of dementia but not a mental illness in order to maintain control over them.
What can I do if my loved one was given medication he/she was not prescribed to take by a physician?
If your loved one lives in a nursing home in Chicago and is being given medicine for a condition he/she does not have, it is important that you take immediate action to prevent from them being harmed any further. Certain medications contain ingredients that could have devastating effects on them, especially when combined with other medications they might be taking. And the last thing anyone wants is to see their mother, father, or even their grandparent suffering after being administered medication in a negligent manner.
You are also encouraged to contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. to speak with a Chicago, IL nursing home neglect lawyer who can help you recognize the facility for improperly giving residents medications. While it is understandable that staff members may get overwhelmed when given too many residents to care for, never should they be willing to put a person’s life at risk just to make their job easier. With that said, we urge you to give us a call so we may begin helping you and your loved one get the proper care they need and obtain the justice they deserve for the mistreatment they have had to endure.
You can contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. at:
221 North La Salle Drive, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601