California’s Anti-Psychotic Drug Collaboration Uncovers Disturbing Truth of Illegal Drugging in Nursing Homes

California’s Anti-Psychotic Drug Collaboration Uncovers Disturbing Truth of Illegal Drugging in Nursing Homes

The California Antipsychotic Drug Collaborative recently investigated 24 nursing homes and found 147 violations of state rules regarding the use of antipsychotics on residents. Their investigations confirm the disturbing and rampant misuse of antipsychotics in California nursing homes and call attention to a situation that deserves immediate remedial action.

The Collaborative found that:
  • 63% of the surveyed nursing homes had violated state rules regarding informed consent;
  • 71% of the surveyed nursing homes were guilty of unnecessary and excessive drugging; and
  • 79% of the surveyed nursing homes had pharmaceutical services that were legally deficient.

Some of the cases included fraudulent consents and consultant pharmacists who failed to identify dangerous contra-indicated drugs.  Every reviewed facility received at least one deficiency while several received more than a dozen.

The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) recently published a  report on the Collaborative’s findings, “In a Stupor: What the California’s Antipsychotic Drug Collaborative Reveals About Illegal Nursing Home Drugging” (PDF). CANHR also points out where the Collaborative falls short on corrective action and lists several items for advocacy in this area. The Collaborative results “cry for further state action to stem the crisis of chemical restraints.  The misuse of antipsychotic drugs is a leading form of elder abuse in nursing homes and it’s time that it stopped,” says Patricia McGinnis, Executive Director of CANHR.

Read the report for more information.

This article was edited from a CANHR press release.
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.