Caring for the older population with dementia can be extremely overwhelming on families. The choices for respite care are minimal and expensive so caregivers rely on other resources, such as nursing homes.
Relatives place elderly family members who are victims of dementia in nursing homes believing they will receive prompt and accurate care along with appropriate guidance. These family members may not be aware certain facilities use anti-psychotic medications to ‘chemically restrain’ their loved ones.
When they learn of this practice, many develop a sense of guilt and feel they are to blame for not protecting them. The negative emotions from blaming oneself for others’ carelessness and greed add to the initial guilt of placing the loved one in the nursing home in the first place.
Our society has changed from just 100 years ago. We are living longer and have relocated from our original homelands. We don’t live our whole lives on a huge ‘fenced in’ farm with no dangers for our grandparents to roam freely. We have highways instead of dirt roads, fast cars instead of horse-drawn carriages and accessible psychotropic drugs instead of herbs.
The stressors from the modern-day dangers to our vulnerable populations are real and here to stay. So we rely on paid resources to keep our loved ones safe, therefore these resources are accountable, not us.
There is no shame on us, the shame is on them (the resources). It is alleged the nursing homes are financially rewarded from chemically restraining residents. The immorality of this practice is ruining the very foundation of respite services needed in our society.
Department of Health and Human Services
- Fourteen percent of elderly nursing home residents had Medicare claims for atypical antipsychotic drugs.
- Eighty-three percent of Medicare claims for atypical antipsychotic drugs for elderly nursing home residents were associated with off-label conditions; 88 percent were associated with the condition specified in the FDA boxed warning.
- Fifty-one percent of Medicare atypical antipsychotic drug claims for elderly nursing home residents were erroneous, amounting to $116 million.
- Twenty-two percent of the atypical antipsychotic drugs claimed were not administered in accordance with CMS standards regarding unnecessary drug use in nursing homes.
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