Restrictions Sought in Illinois for Chemical Restraints in Nursing Homes

  • Written by: AboutLawsuits

Nursing home resident advocates in Illinois are pushing for new, stricter rules on the use of antipsychotic drugs among elderly nursing home residents, in order to prevent misuse of the drugs as a form of chemical restraint in nursing homes.

Illinois Citizens for Better Care, a grassroots organization that fights to improve nursing home care in the state, is pushing for new state laws and regulations that would prevent nursing homes and doctors from using antipsychotic and psychotropic drugs as a form of chemical restraint on the elderly, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica.

Concerns over the use of such drugs have increased considerably as the result of an ongoing series of in-depth nursing home investigative reports conducted by the Tribune on nursing home problems in Illinois. The stories have unveiled a series of critical failings in the Illinois nursing home system. In addition to investigations which uncovered unapproved use of antipsychotics on non-consenting elderly nursing home residents in order to control them, the stories have also found incidents of murder, rape and abuse, largely due to the housing of the criminally insane within the same facilities as elderly patients.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has established the Nursing Home Safety Task Force to address problems uncovered by the investigations, and Illinois Citizens for Better Care are pushing that task force to come up with a firm, durable solution that would prevent doctors and facilities from using antipsychotics to control and restrain nursing home residents.

A recent report from the United Kingdom found that the side effects of antipsychotics, like Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal and Abilify, could be linked to as many as 1,800 deaths and 1,620 strokes per year in elderly patients with dementia. The drugs are not approved to treat dementia here or in the U.K., but in both countries the drugs are often given to elderly patients by doctors, who are able to prescribe drugs for “off-label” uses not approved by federal regulators.

The U.K. report estimated that 180,000 elderly people in that country are prescribed antipsychotics for dementia, but only about 36,000 appear to actually derive any benefit.

Nursing home care advocates say that the state could prevent the “off-label” use of antipsychotics in elderly patients by refusing to pay for the use of antipsychotics to treat dementia or to be used as an injection (which advocates say is usually a sign that they are being used as a sedative) unless the doctor gets permission from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services on a case-by-case basis.

Care advocates also suggest other potential policies, such as the use of standardized forms be required by all nursing homes to insure they have permission from residents or their family to administer antipsychotic drugs, and a formal process required by all nursing homes to explain the potential side effects of such drugs. They are also pushing for drug companies to be forced to disclose any payments made to doctors in order to monitor potential conflicts of interest.

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  1. Daniel Reply

    Addictive Zyprexa was pushed by Lilly Drug Reps.
    They called it the “Five at Five” (5 mg at 5 pm to keep nursing home patients subdued and sleepy) and “VIVA ZYPREXA” (Zyprexa for everybody) campaigns to off label market Eli Lilly Zyprexa as a fix for unapproved usage.

  2. Joann Reply

    January 5, 2010, on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, there was a report on a nursing home in Cal., Lake Esabella to be exact, about a 97 year old elderly women who was allegedly killed by a powerful anti-psychotic drug,used as a chemical restraint in her nursing home or also I would say in assistant living facilities, in my opinion she was murdered. The director of this facility was arrested and put in prison. Attorney General Edmund Brown from Cal. with his strong presence was upset in what had taken place,and he sure made it known. A Food and Drug Administration official estimates that unnecessary anti-psychotics kill 15,000 nursing home patients each year. I do feel with all my heart that someone can do something about this on going problem. I have been writing to many organizations due to the fact that an assistant living facility did the same thing to my mom, and my mom is 90 years old and never in her life took a pill and she was ok until she found monies(a wallet) in the street walking to church and they did not return or even say thank you to my mom, one thing led to another, they started to lie about the monies and then the head nurse wanted my mom medicated, and my mom was put into the hospital for dehydration, vomiting, you name it. I removed my mom, thank God, from that facility, and now I’m receiving bills, that I feel my mom and myself do not deserve this abuse because I feel it was all there doing, and they the director, also over medicated my mom. Then she said to me, that my mother had to go into the GRAY AREA, she made me so sick, between the director and the head nurse and so called doctor, I was admitted into the hospital myself. I sure did not deserve this, and neither do I feel other families should not go threw any of these problems.,I also found out that there are nursing, and assistant living facilities that are not licensed on Long Island NY accept just one and there are hundreds and hundreds more. Why is this going on?

  3. heather Reply

    my mother was given 10 mgs of zyprexa by dr.tran who receives money from eli lily and within 2 weeks lost the ability to walk, talk and feed herself.

  4. Mdz Reply

    This drug just makes a person highly suggestive to thoughts or advice given from people.

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