Pennsylvania veterans improperly medicated in nursing homes

When loved ones are placed in nursing homes, family members must trust in those nursing homes and the doctors, nurses and other caregivers there to properly care for their patients. Everything from comfortable living areas, healthy food, and appropriate medical treatments should be taken into account when evaluating whether a nursing home is the right place for a loved one in need of care. Every Pittsburgh nursing home abuse lawyer knows how important the proper administration of medications can be for those who live in nursing homes.

A recent study by the University of Pittsburgh and the VA Pittsburgh Medical Center revealed that as many as 40 percent of veterans in nursing homes were being given antipsychotic medications, even though these veterans had no diagnosis that called for such medicine. The statistic is in line non-VA nursing homes, though the rate is higher southern Pennsylvania than in the rest of the state.

The study authors suggested that the use of antipsychotic medications is intended to lessen behavioral symptoms in patients who have dementia. However, these medications are not the best method to do this, as antipsychotics are not meant to treat dementia. Indeed, among elderly patients, the use of an antipsychotic is associated with an increased risk of death.

In the case of dementia patients, the use of antipsychotics may not rise to the level of nursing home negligence. However, patients and their family members should be aware what medications are being used and take care when choosing a nursing home, by looking at the quality and training of the staff, as well as the number of staff members on duty.

Source: Pittsburgh Business Times, "Inappropriate drug use found at VA," Kris B. Mamula, Nov. 2, 2012

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