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Antipsychotic drug use in nursing home decreased via program


Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Dec 16, 2014 in Nursing Home Abuse

In a previous post we wrote about some of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. In that post we mentioned that chemically restraining a resident could be considered abuse or neglect under certain circumstances. For example, in some situations antipsychotic drugs might be used inappropriately to calm agitated residents with forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s.

In this post we provide information about what one nursing home is doing to reduce the use of those drugs. Though the nursing home in this particular situation is located in another state, it is easy to see how the approach could be applicable in those located in Connecticut.

The nursing home created a program called Awakenings which aims to find other ways to calm agitated residents making it possible to take many of them off of the antipsychotic drugs. As a part of the program, staff members are provided and expected to remember information regarding each resident including their life story, likes and dislikes. Armed with that information, any staff member who encounters a resident exhibiting agitated behavior is expected to try to determine why. Once that is accomplished they then work to eliminate the root cause.

Tactics used to accomplish this include:

  • Validation
  • Pet therapy
  • White noise
  • Aromatherapy

There is no question that there are situations where the use of antipsychotic drugs is appropriate. When however, they are used as a shortcut for calming residents without the guidance of a physician, the nursing home may be engaging in neglect or abuse. If you believe a loved one is in this situation you may be able to pursue a legal claim against the facility. A lawyer who handles cases involving nursing homes is a good place to start.

Source: National Public Radio, “This Nursing Home Calms Troubling Behavior Without Risky Drugs" Ina Jaffe, Dec. 9, 2014