A disturbing new report by the Human Rights Watch, titles "They Want Docile", highlights the increasing trend of nursing homes all across the United States misusing prescription anti-psychotic drugs in order to restrain and control elderly residents, including those with dementia.
Per the report, over 179,000 nursing home residents are being given these drugs every week. The drugs are given in order to sedate these elderly nursing home residents in order to make the job easier for the nursing home staff, including nurses and aides. These nursing home workers are often overworks as many of the nursing home facilities do not have enough staff to properly care for the residents.
The report is based on the Human Rights Watch's visits to more than 100 nursing homes across the United States, as well as interviews with nursing home residents, nurses, aides, government officials, and nursing home advocates.
The report highlights the fact that many nursing home residents are being given these numbing drugs without their consent. The drugs re for the benefit of the nursing home staff members, and to make their jobs easier, and not for the benefit of the resident. The medications given have been described as essentially knocking the elderly residents out, making them overly tired so they sleep all of the time, and make residents forgetful with loss of short-term memory.
Because nursing homes in the past have been criticized for using these powerful anti-psychotic medications, nursing homes have trended toward using substituted psychotic medications which have a similar sedative effect.
According to the report, the misuse of such drugs on elderly nursing home patients with dementia nearly doubled the person’s risk of death, as they alter consciousness and can adversely affect an individual’s ability to interact with others.