The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is stepping in to curtail nursing home abuse that is occurring in care facilities in the form of unnecessary over-drugging of patients. According to a 10News report, CMS has resolved to reduce antipsychotic use in nursing homes by 15 percent by the end of 2012. Nursing home advocates such as the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) are welcoming this move especially because government officials are now talking about specific numbers.
The problem of unnecessary and excessive use of antipsychotic drug use has become a serious problem in nursing homes in California and across the nation. Antipsychotic drugs were created to help patients cope with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. However, nursing homes have used them to treat other mental illnesses such as dementia, for which these drugs have not been approved. Nursing homes continue to use these drugs to sedate or “chemically restrain” nursing home patients despite repeated warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that doing so can cause death in the elderly.
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