Elders expect efficient and professional care when entering nursing homes because these facilities usually employ well-trained staff and medical personnel. These doctors and nurses have obligations to maintain standards of care followed by the rest of the country. However, these facilities could pose risks of inappropriate prescriptions, specifically overmedication.
Studies show that care facilities, such as nursing homes, tend to overuse potent drugs, especially antipsychotic drugs used to treat mental health disorders. This phenomenon is an issue across the country, with a 22% nationwide increase in psychotropic drug use from 2001 to 2010 alone. Still, this type of medication could be beneficial if controlled and taken correctly.
Unfortunately, vulnerable groups, such as older adults, have a higher chance of overmedicating with these drugs. These incidents could happen for many reasons, including failure to consider alternative treatments and therapy.
Additionally, these prescription medicines tend to receive health insurance coverage rather than therapy, making it preferable for elders with limited financial resources. In 2007 alone, one in seven nursing home residents received Medicare benefits for these potent substances. A federal analysis also revealed some Medicare claims for this medication go against excessive or unnecessary medication use regulations. Overmedicating on these powerful drugs could have grave consequences.
If prescribed recklessly, these drugs could worsen an elder’s condition, potentially leading to severe health issues and even death. Misuse could also result in serious side effects and symptoms, including unusual weight gain, increased diabetes risks and muscle spasms.
These forms of overmedication could be elder abuse, requiring immediate action to prevent further harm. Reporting these incidents could help address the abuse early and hold the responsible parties accountable for their violations.