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Antipsychotic meds overuse rampant in Connecticut nursing homes

New Haven, Connecticut, residents who visit nursing homes for treatment should be very cautious about drugs prescribed to them. They should understand that medical negligence may result in an inappropriate diagnosis and incorrect or improper administration of drugs that may injure the health and life of patients.

The prescription rate of antipsychotic drugs in Westside, Connecticut, is very high. According to federal reports, some patients who are not even in need of such drugs are administered or prescribed these potentially harmful medicines by nursing homes in the area. Though antipsychotic drugs play a vital role in treating certain serious mental conditions, they carry risks of fatal side effects.

Reportedly, between 2005 and 2010, Connecticut was among top four states administering antipsychotic drugs to patients without a proper diagnosis. Moreover, the state was on top when it came to using such drugs on high-risk people. In recent years, area hospitals have adopted this class of drugs as the main treatment for agitation, aggression and other behavioral symptoms. In Connecticut, nursing homes that face citations for unnecessary medications or fail to properly monitor antipsychotic drug use usually face a minimal fine.

Hospitals and doctors are strongly advised to prescribe medicines only after proper diagnosis of an illness. If a medicine or drug carries a high degree of risk, it should only be administered when necessary. Medical personnel should understand that medication is provided to patients to alleviate pain and suffering and not to improperly control their behaviors.

Nursing homes and hospitals should be very careful in diagnosing and treating patients. Their irresponsible conduct or mistakes may cause serious, harmful consequences to patients as well as their family members. Those who suffer due to negligence or irresponsibility of hospitals, nursing homes or other medical facilities may be able to sue them for medical malpractice. Victims may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, disability and pain and suffering.

Source: Ctwatchdog.com, "High Use Of Antipsychotics In Connecticut Nursing Homes Stirs Concerns, Reforms," Lisa Chedekel, Jan. 31, 2013

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