Nursing facility residents for decades have been medicated with antipsychotics and other psychotropics in order to sedate them and make them more easily managed. But these medications can impair quality of life and increase the risk of death. Reform initiatives have had limited success. Notably, even reform initiatives virtually ignore residents’ decision-making rights, assuming implicitly that residents (and their representatives) aren’t capable of making decisions. Like any other person, nursing facility residents have “informed consent” rights, and shouldn’t receive medication without 1) receiving written information on the medication’s benefits and risks and 2) consenting to the medication in writing.
In a series of issue briefs, Justice in Aging makes and evaluates several proposed reforms, focusing on proposals’ real-world impact on residents. This second brief, Why Too Many Psychotropic Medications in Nursing Facilities?, explains how overmedication of residents could be dramatically reduced by honoring residents’ informed consent rights.
In case you missed it, the first brief in this series is entitled Improving Care Compare Website to Empower Consumers.