Reports on events at a California nursing home which started back in 2003 should shock even the most conservative person around. According to state prosecutors, when residents at the Kern Valley Nursing Home complained or annoyed nursing director Gwen Hughes, she chemically restrained them with powerful anti-psychotic drugs. The director’s restraints were so severe that three residents at the facility died. One resident was given a powerful anti-seizure drug that, according to the state, killed her.
Three nursing home officials appeared recently at a hearing on charges of elder abuse at the Kern Valley facility from 2003 to 2007. They included Gwen Hughes, as well as the administrator and a staff physician. While the three Defendants pleaded not guilty, each faces up to 11 years in prison. Additionally, a former pharmacist at the facility accepted a plea bargain on the condition that she agreed to testify for the prosecution.
While what happened in the rural California nursing home may be an extreme case, experts say over-drugging is common nationwide. They say that the number of nursing home residents who are given these drugs is rising. It has been estimated that nursing homes give anti-psychotics to one in every four patients. Some suggest that the drugs are replacing physical restraints, which are now illegal except as a last resort.
Toby Edelman, who is with the watchdog Center for Medicare Advocacy, had this to say: “They’re hiding the restraints. A physical restraint is visible, but a chemical restraint is not.” Using chemicals purely as restraints is also illegal, but they are widely used. A Food and Drug Administration official has estimated that unnecessary anti-psychotics kill 15,000 nursing home patients each year. If you want more information on this matter, you can contact Shanna Malone at Shanna.Malone@beasleyallen.com.
Governments at the federal and state level must do a better job of regulating the nursing home industry. In my opinion there has been a great deal of abuse in the industry. Failure to provide adequate care for nursing home residents, who are among the most vulnerable persons in our society, can’t be tolerated.
Source: ABC News
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.