An alarming number of nursing home residents throughout the United States are being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Numbers have skyrocketed over the past decade to an alarming rate that puts the accuracy of these diagnoses in question.
In 2012, the government attempted to reduce unneeded antipsychotic drugs used in nursing homes. The only exemption to that campaign involved residents who have schizophrenia. The result of that policy has led to an unprecedented 70 percent increase in schizophrenia diagnoses since the program was enacted.
Suspicions surround facilities using the loophole to keep dementia patients perpetually sedated, with some to the point of comatose ignoring staff-intensive care preferred by regulators.
Sounding the alarm on over-drugging
Industry experts have also expressed concerns about the over-drugging of nursing home residents. The National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care was created in 2012 to sound the alarm. Bolstered with years of research, they revealed the widespread use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes, with officials ignoring warnings from the Food and Drug Administration about the potential for significant harm.
Sadly, a racial component cannot be ignored. Black residents with dementia have suffered the most since the initiative started. They are 1.7 percent more likely than their white residents to receive schizophrenia diagnoses. Add to that the residents living in facilities that rank near the bottom in quality standards, creating a perfect storm of death rates doubling and increased infections and falls.
Diagnoses for the disorder have soared in the past decade within the Black community. Schizophrenia diagnoses in all Black demographics have increased in their likelihood, regardless of their age, with the all too common next step being prescriptions for antipsychotics.
Deliberate misdiagnoses used to slip through regulatory loopholes require immediate action by loved ones of victims. When going up against powerful nursing home companies, a personal injury attorney can help even the odds.