Prescription medications can achieve a broad range of effects, but these benefits come at a cost. Many medications have significant, known side effects. There is also the concerning possibility that an individual can have an adverse reaction to a specific medication far beyond the standard side effects noted in patients.
Given the risks, medical professionals should be conservative in the use of prescription medications in patients, especially drugs with a higher-than-typical risk of adverse consequences or chemical dependence.
Unfortunately for those living in nursing homes, there is evidence of widespread misuse of prescription drugs for the convenience of their caregivers.
Why do nursing homes overmedicate patients?
Those in chronic pain and those struggling with the impact of dementia or cognitive decline can be very difficult to support in a nursing home environment. They may be combative, have a tendency to elope or simply make unreasonable demands on the time and attention of the staff members there.
At some facilities, the employees may use prescription medications as a kind of chemical restraint. Although doing so is a violation of medical ethics and the rights of the individual patients, the facility may sedate someone when it is not necessary for their safety or the safety of others, over-administer pain medication and otherwise try to keep residents compliant and quiet through the use of unnecessary prescription drugs.
If your loved one has suffered physical or psychological harm because of the inappropriate use of prescription medication to control their behavior, you may need to take the facility to court just to stop this practice. Recognizing the various forms of nursing home abuse that could endanger your loved one will help you protect them from people who should work in their best interest.