First of all, hats off to the writer who took the time to write this article, addressing an item we may not like to talk about, but it does exist moreso than we may care to discuss. All one has to do is review the prescriptions for the various patients and facilities to get the numbers. With everyone cutting budgets today, yes the nursing homes are under staffed and may not have the quality of help we as family members with patients there would want. Unfortunately instead of adding more human interfacing with patients, it’s easier to give the patient a pill, as this story discusses, and some even rely heavily on technology, which is good for monitoring, but pills and electronic monitoring are only part of the job.
Second opinions are not in any way out of the question for family members who feel their loved one is not getting the treatment they need. BD
The use of antipsychotic drugs to tamp down the agitation, combative behavior and outbursts of dementia patients has soared, especially in the elderly. Sales of newer antipsychotics like Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa totaled $13.1 billion in 2007, up from $4 billion in 2000, according to IMS Health, a health care information company.
Part of this increase can be traced to prescriptions in nursing homes. Researchers estimate that about a third of all nursing home patients have been given antipsychotic drugs. “Just because someone is 95 does not mean one should not do a workup, especially if she’s been healthy,” Dr. Kennedy said.