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Nursing homes making false diagnoses to overmedicate patients

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2021 | Nursing Home Abuse

Making the decision to move a parent into a Kentucky nursing home is rarely easy. Yet, if your parent needs more care than you or other loved ones are able to give, you may need to do so to protect your parent’s safety. However, there is a concerning trend emerging in American nursing home environments. It involves staff members overmedicating patients to make them more docile.

According to Business Insider, the number of American nursing home patients receiving schizophrenia diagnoses is skyrocketing. So, too, is the number of patients receiving prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs.

Diagnosis and prescription statistics

Nowadays, one out of every nine nursing home residents has a schizophrenia diagnosis. This is a 70% increase since 2012. Yet, studies show that somewhere between about 0.25% and 0.64% of the U.S. population currently has schizophrenia. This raises questions about why percentages are so much higher in continuing care environments.

Also concerning are the facts that more than a fifth of all U.S. nursing home residents currently take antipsychotic prescription medications, and that many nursing home residents are receiving schizophrenia diagnoses late in life. The majority of those with the condition receive their diagnoses as young adults.

Possible explanations

Many believe that nursing home staff are taking advantage of residents and making bogus schizophrenia diagnoses that allow them to heavily mediate patients who might exhibit dementia-related behavior. Often, patients who take these heavy medications wind up calmer and more docile than they might be otherwise. This, in turn, makes nursing home staff members’ jobs easier.

Before you move a parent into a particular nursing home, do your research. Also, be wary of a sudden schizophrenia diagnosis that takes place soon after your parent moves in.

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