Have you ever visited your loved one at a nursing home or assisted living facility, and wondered why so many of the residents appeared to be incoherent or lethargic?  A big problem in long term care facilities is the overuse of drugs to sedate the elderly.  While facilities will deny it, it is easier, and cheaper, for nursing home companies to manage residents who demand less of their staff.  “Staffing by Pharmaceuticals” is simply a way to control the behavior of the residents through drugs rather than by providing adequate and appropriate staffing to address the real needs of our elderly.  The overuse of drugs, particularly anti-psychotic medications, can lead to terrible consequences, such as falls, skin breakdown, weight loss, and even death.  Here are a few tips to consider if you are concerned about your loved one’s medication regimen:

  1. Make sure you know the reason for each and every medication;
  2. Insist that you be notified of any change in medication;
  3. Insist that the doctor prescribing the medications explain medication interaction;
  4. Demand alternatives to anti-psychotic medications;
  5. Watch for changes in your loved one, report those changes to the physician and staff, and demand follow up if your loved one does not adjust well to the medication.
  6. If you think that there are not enough people at the nursing home to take care of your loved one, speak up. Talk to the administrator. Call the Agency for Health Care Administration.

  Unfortunately, the nursing home industry is not alone in its quest for profits at the expense of resident care.  Recently, CNN has investigated the practices of a pharmaceutical company which has aggressively targeted nursing home residents with a drug whose widespread use is more a function of corporate greed than resident need. Check the article out for yourself: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/12/...