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Sen. Blumenthal Submits Bill Limiting Antipsychotics Use in Nursing Homes

Another group of advocates for the elderly also is seeking a 50 percent reduction on the use of the drugs in Connecticut nursing homes.

State and federal officials are pushing to limit nursing homes in Connecticut from using antipsychotic drugs, which some say the facilities use too often to calm or quiet patients with dementia.

Democrat Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s junior senator, announced Tuesday that he has submitted legislation to limit the use of so-called “off-label” anti-psychotic medications in nursing homes, according to a report by ctmirror.org. Blumenthal said such those drugs are frequently used by nursing home staff as a form of “chemical restraint” for more difficult to manage patients, many of whom suffer from dementia.

"It is a form of elder abuse,” Blumenthal said in announcing the legislation. “It's chemical restraint -- no less pernicious and insidious than physical restraint of patients -- and it should be stopped."

At the same time, groups advocating for the elderly in Connecticut announced that they would seek to limit the use of antipsychotics in nursing homes by 50 percent.

Connecticut nursing homes use off-label antipsychotic drugs 24 percent to 65 percent of the time, while the national average is 23.9 percent, Nancy B. Shaffer, state ombudsman for Connecticut’s office of long-term care, told ctmirror.org.

"We have some work to do," she said.

Marie October 03, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Thank you Sen. Blumenthal. My father was in a nursing home for almost 10 years, Parkinson's and dementia. Everyday my moher and I had to fight to keep him off anti-psychotic medications even had to call in the state in many times. We were even threatened by the nursing home that they would kick my father out if he wasn't on these drugs. We tried three nursing homes before ending up where we did. My father was in a nursing home in Avon - basically it was the best of the worst. These drugs are so strong that they will kill your loved one before their illness does. Two months after my father died, my mother died in a nursing / rehab home, Apple Rehab. Unknowing to my mother or myself, they gave her Ambien. My mother never had a sleep aid before, She got up in the night, went to the bathroom, fell and banged her head. She was on the floor for about a half hour before anyone even found her. They never sent her to the hospital and three days later she is being rushed to UConn Hospital ER and died later that day from bleeding in her head. The nursing homes in this state really need to be reviewed and exposed. What I have seen and experienced with nursing homes over a 10 year period - you know the saying - I could write a book. Once again, thank you Sen. Blumenthal.
john Gartner October 26, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Marie, I'm writing a book on this topic. Would you be willing to be interviewed? If so, or if any other readers see this and have stories to tell please contact me: Dr. John Gartner johnfgartner@comcast.net or 410-337-8207 or thru my website johngartner.com

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