Many believe nursing homes provide compassionate care and support for older adults. However, concerns have emerged about the overmedication of patients to create a more subdued environment. This troubling practice raises questions about the ethical treatment of individuals in long-term care facilities.
In some instances, nursing homes resort to making false schizophrenia diagnoses, further compounding the issue.
Overmedication and its consequences
Older adults living in nursing homes often face complex health challenges. Chronic conditions and cognitive decline are common. Sometimes, facilities resort to overmedicating residents to manage behavior and create a more compliant atmosphere. The consequences of such actions are profound. When this occurs, it affects the physical health of the residents. It also impacts their emotional well-being.
False schizophrenia diagnoses
Some nursing homes falsely diagnose residents with schizophrenia. The Associated Press reports that, while only about 1% of the population has schizophrenia, many American nursing homes say more than 20% of their residents have the disorder.
This misdiagnosis allows for the administration of powerful antipsychotic medications. This often occurs without the proper assessment and confirmation of a genuine psychiatric condition. The use of these medications can have severe side effects. For example, it can exacerbate existing health issues. It can also compromise the quality of life for older adults.
Ethical concerns and advocacy
The overmedication of nursing home residents raises ethical questions about the standard of care within nursing homes. So, too, does the issuance of false diagnoses. Advocacy groups and concerned individuals play a key role in addressing these issues. They also help demand accountability from institutions entrusted to care for older adults.
Nursing homes must prioritize the physical and mental health of their residents. They also need to adhere to ethical standards in medical treatment. Transparent communication and thorough assessments help foster an environment that upholds the dignity and well-being of older adults in long-term care settings.