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How are drugs misused in nursing homes?

When you must put a loved one into a nursing home in Louisiana, you may take comfort in knowing he or she is being cared for by trained personnel. However, the reality is that nursing homes have a history of not always being the safe havens they seem to be. One problem that seems to occur way too often is an overprescription or overuse of medications, specifically, psychotropic drugs.

AARP reports that the use of psychotropic drugs often occurs not because the patient needs them but because it makes things easier for the nursing home staff. It has been shown that when a nursing home is overstaffed, patients may be given such drugs to help calm them down and make them easier to care for, thus lightening the load on the already overworked staff.

In any case, you should have the right to know when your loved one has any change in treatment. That includes if they are given a new medication. However, many times, staff are not alerting family or getting consent to give these drugs. When given to dementia patients, psychotropic drugs are known to be deadly.

You have to take a stance and ensure that your loved one is not being given any medications you do not know about. It is essential for you to act on behalf of your loved one to ensure his or her safety. While many caregivers try to justify the use of these drugs as a way to protect your loved one from harming themselves or others, you should always get a second opinion on whether they are really needed. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 

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