‘Chemical restraints’ in nursing homes

Antipsychotics are widely used to sedate people with dementia

More than 25,000 residents of California nursing homes—one in four—regularly receive antipsychotic drugs. Most of them are suffering from dementia, for which the drugs are not approved. But the medications do sedate patients and make them more manageable, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “chemical restraints.” Recently, the state Department of Public Health launched an Antipsychotic Drug Collaborative to inspect selected facilities with potential drugging problems. It found 147 violations in 24 facilities, an average of 6.1 deficiencies per facility. Here are the report’s chief findings regarding the surveyed nursing homes:

• Percentage that had violated state rules regarding informed consent: 63

• Percentage that were guilty of unnecessary and excessive drugging: 71

• Percentage that had pharmaceutical services that were legally deficient: 79

Source: CANHR