Human Rights Watch Reveals Horrific Nursing Home Practice

It comes as no surprise that many nursing homes find themselves understaffed and what staff they have overworked. This can be a hard barrier to overcome when attempting to provide care to a number of residents, each with their own health conditions and requirements of care. As such, one report makes the shocking claim that some nursing homes are chemically restraining their patients. CBS Local New York reports.

In an outrageous report made by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the agency accuses several nursing homes of giving some 179,000 patients antipsychotic drugs each week. The drugs are meant as a form of “chemical restraint” for patients with dementia to make life easier for overworked and underpaid staff.

“They Want Docile” is the title of the group’s 157-page report and based upon visits to some 100 facilities nationwide as well as more than 300 interviews with patients, family members, staff members, government officials and advocates.

Some of these interviews revealed residents telling HRW that they were drugged without their consent. One woman, a 62-year-old from Texas said that staff there gave her a prescription medication called Seroquel that “knocked her out.” She also stated that she would have to ask people what day it was.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports falling number of antipsychotic prescriptions from 24% n 2011 to 16% in 2017. However, Dr. Jerry Gurwitz of the University of Massachusetts Medical School said that he fears nursing homes are now beginning to use medications that do not draw the same attention as antipsychotics to sedate patients.

The HRS report also indicated that the off-label use of antipsychotics to sedate patients may more than double the risk of death.