Drugged: Illinois nursing home residents victimized

Legal news for Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys. Nursing home residents throughout Illinois have been given dangerous drugs without cause.

Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers alerts- Illinois nursing homes exposed for giving residents psychotropic drug treatment without cause or consent.

Chicago, IL—An in-depth investigative report compiled by the Chicago Tribune, exposed the ugly truth behind the treatment of the fail and vulnerable elderly nursing homes residents throughout the state of Illinois. The explosive report sheds light on the dark practices of Illinois nursing home caregivers who administer powerful and dangerous psychotropic drugs, which have led to debilitating injuries and even death among some of our most vulnerable residents.

The explosive investigative report is blowing the lid off the secretive nursing home practices, which have affected thousands of Illinois’ elderly and/or disabled nursing home residents. The unprecedented amounts of victims have been drugged with psychotropic drugs without their consent, or a legitimate medical psychiatric diagnosis to support the administration of powerful and possibly dangerous drugs. The Chicago Tribune uncovered 1,200 violations since 2001 at the states nursing homes that involved psychotropic medications.

These violations have affected more than 2,900 patients, and possible even more because regulatory inspections are only conducted once every 15 months. In these inspections only a small sample of residents are evaluated for harm, which leaves a large gray area of many more possible victims that have not been documented. A total of “742 Illinois nursing homes that care for traditional geriatric patients found that two-thirds of them were cited at least once in the past eight years for incidents involving psychotropics. Dozens of homes had violations year after year.”

The Tribunes investigation reviewed over 40,000 state and federal inspection reports, which have revealed even the “five-star” residencies among the run-down residences have all been cited for improperly administering psychotropic drugs to patients. Numerous nursing home residents suffer from major mental illnesses, but inspection reports revealed that many residents harmed by antipsychotic drugs were not diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Alarmingly, the inspection records revealed a main reason the patients were given the drugs was to make them easier to care for. The residents were administered the drugs for behaviors such as yelling out, being unruly; and for tics, tremors, and lethargy. The drugs would sometimes cause these behaviors in residents who were not unruly.

The drugs can be extremely dangerous or even lethal. The report states, “the most commonly used antipsychotics carry so-called black-box warnings, the FDA’s highest advisory. Side effects may include severe lethargy, permanent involuntary muscle movements, seizures and sudden death.” In all, the report revealed more than 700 instances occurred since 2001 of nursing homes administering psychotropic drugs without legitimate cause. Under standard nursing practices, caregivers are required to follow steps before resulting to using drugs to calm restless or unruly residents down. Shockingly, nursing home staffs are known to skip the step of trying to calm residents, and move directly to calling a patient’s doctor to seek a psychotropic drug, which they frequently grant the request over the phone and fail to see and evaluate the patient. This ugly truth is a call to action for loved ones, medical professionals, and law makers to ensure ethical decisions in patient care are conducted.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers.

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