Volpe's Views: Nursing Homes


It's unconscionable to think that nursing homes across this nation are using antipsychotic medication on residents with dementia to sedate them when these drugs were never intended for that use.

According to the latest data from Hu man Rights Watch, there are about 179,000 people in _ nursing homes who get antipsychotics every week without having a diagnosis for which the drugs are approved.

"On paper nursing home residents have strong legal protections of their rights, but in practice, enforcement is often lacking, said the Human Rights Watch report, based on interviews with 300 patients and visits to I 09 nursing homes in six states.

Worse, that same report says that nursing homes, in violation of Federal law, often administer these drugs without obtaining consent from residents or the relatives who represent them.

The biggest challenge, the report stated, is to change the mind-set of nursing home staff and some residents' families that behavior arising from dementia is "abnormal" and warrants the use of the medication.

Seems to me that, given the indiscriminate use of these powerful drugs, educating the providers is long overdue.

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