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.