The Application Of Personal Injury Law On The Use Of Antipsychotics In Nursing Homes

27 February 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog


If you're familiar with antipsychotics, then you must know that nursing home centers rely on them to calm down residents. Indeed, these drugs are often used on people who are suffering from mental conditions associated with extreme agitation and also unpredictable behavior. This is, for example, the case for intermittent explosive disorder (IED), or dementia. Yet, you may have heard or read stories about the unauthorized use of these drugs by nursing home staff. This article discusses how personal injury law applies to the use of antipsychotics in those facilities. 

What are the potential consequences of using antipsychotics without medical permission?

These include but aren't limited to:

  • Cardiovascular death
  • Strokes
  • Risk of falls
  • Pneumonia

How can you find out if your relative has been given these drugs without your consent?

This requires paying frequent visits to your family relative, and knowing exactly what they're still capable of doing on their own, and the symptoms they typically show. For example, if you notice that your father has been experiencing more strokes than usual, then you need to conduct an investigation to understand what's happening to him. Indeed, unless his health status has recently changed because of the evolution of their mental condition, an increase in the frequency of his strokes will most likely be related to the abuse of antipsychotics.

The same thing is true if you learn that your relative, who used to walk around without any issues, has been falling frequently in recent days.

The federal government is aware of the problem

In a 2013 article, Fred Schulte reported that the federal government was aware of the abuse of antipsychotics on nursing home residents. Indeed, it was found that this ongoing problem had cost Medicare about $116 million in 6 months. In response to these facts, Daniel R. Levinson, who currently serves as the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, stated that solutions needed to be found to protect all the parties involved in this matter, such as:

  • Taxpayers
  • Nursing home residents
  • People who pay for nursing home services
  • The federal government

If you suspect that your relative has been administered an antipsychotic drug without your consent and/or their doctor's, then you're strongly recommended to contact a personal injury lawyer (such as one from Law Offices Of Doonan & Doonan Inc) now. Because the life of your relative is at stake, you can't afford to wait until new reforms are implemented on how nursing homes operate to take action.