Columbia, S.C., April 24, 2012 — South Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect attorney Bert Louthian today hailed a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) program launched recently to combat the use of antipsychotic medications with nursing home residents.
“The excessive and inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes and other elderly care situations is a longstanding problem, and it’s good to see the federal government’s primary medical care program for the elderly take steps to put an end to this kind of abuse,” said Louthian, a partner in the South Carolina personal injury firm, Louthian Law Firm, P.A., which is based in Columbia.
The “National Initiative to Improve Behavioral Health & Reduce the Use of Antipsychotic Medications in Nursing Home Residents” is meant to raise awareness of antipsychotic misuse, improve regulatory oversight and train nursing home workers on non-drug treatments for aggressive and agitated dementia behaviors, according to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living online journal.
A 2011 audit by the CMS found that thousands of elderly nursing home residents suffering from dementia were given powerful antipsychotic drugs as a means of controlling aggressive behavior symptomatic of dementia, the New York Times reported.
The auditors said 83 percent of antipsychotic drugs prescribed for elderly nursing home residents were for uses not approved by federal regulators, and 88 percent were to treat patients with dementia, for whom the drugs can be lethal, the newspaper said.
“Applying medication that is known to be improper, let alone potentially lethal, is nothing less than abuse of the elderly,” Louthian said. “This practice, which is sometimes called ‘chemical restraint,’ needs to stop..
Louthian’s law firm investigates elderly and nursing home patient neglect or abuse across South Carolina.
“Family members and others connected to nursing home patients need to help them by looking out for their welfare and asking questions about the medications they are receiving,” Louthian said.
“If a person thinks an elderly patient is being treated incorrectly, through improper medication or other means, they should contact an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer to learn about their legal options..