Nursing home neglect by misdiagnosing schizophrenia

In 2012, the government passed new regulations to try and reduce the unnecessary use of anti-psychotic drugs in nursing home patients. All too often, nursing homes use these anti-psychotic drugs to control the behavior of residents with dementia. This can often result in a poor quality of life for those patients and can be an example of nursing home neglect. The 2012 law, however, contained an exemption for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, since anti-psychotics can be helpful in those cases. A recent study shows that nursing homes may be intentionally misdiagnosing their dementia patients in order to keep using the banned drugs. Since the law changed in 2012, diagnoses of schizophrenia in nursing homes has grown by 70%.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, experts say some facilities are using the schizophrenia loophole to continue sedating dementia patients instead of providing the more costly, staff-intensive care that regulators are trying to promote. This is another example of nursing homes providing inferior care in order to cut costs and increase profits. Many area nursing homes are severely understaffed and the staff they do have are often poorly trained. At The O’Keefe Firm, we have seen these staff cuts result in dropped patients, untreated pressure sores and negligent administration of medications. As nursing homes cut staff, nursing home neglect cases rise.

This attempt by nursing homes to misdiagnose in order to sedate their patients is especially felt in the African America population. Black residents with dementia are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Putting residents on anti-psychotics increases the risk of infections and falls and doubles the risk of death, studies show. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect, contact The O’Keefe Firm at 937-643-0600 for a free consultation.

This entry was posted in: Blog, Nursing Home Negligence