Psychotropic Drugs: What You Should Know.

The Chicago Tribune recently published a brief article called 5 Things to Know about Psychotropics, which I thought I would pass along to you. Here are the five things:

Your rights: A nursing facility cannot administer a psychotropic drug without a physician’s order, which by law requires informed consent and a legitimate diagnosis. The standard of care requires that nursing staff must first try to calm patients, and other possible causes of agitation must be ruled out, such as infection.

The consent: Before psyschtropics can be used consent must be obtained by the “responsible party” of the resident, usually the person with power of attorney. The consent must be in writing.

The drugs: What are psychotropic drugs? Psychotropics generally include antipsychotics, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. The antipsychotics generally pose the greatest risks to nursing home residents. Remember, antipsychotics are intended to treat serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, but doctors may prescribe them for other uses. They cannot be used as a “chemical restraint.”

The risks: As stated, psychotropic drugs are powerful, and can cause drowsiness, dizziness and confusion. This, in turn can lead to falls, dehydration, and extreme lethargy.

To complain: As a first step, contact the nursing home’s administrator. If you are not getting the answers you need, contact the local ombudsman’s office or the California Department of Public Health. Telephone numbers for the offices of the ombudsman and CDPH in all Southern California counties can be found by clicking here.

Source: Chicago Tribune

The Walton Law Firm represents seniors and dependent adults who have suffered neglect or abuse in the nursing home, residential care, or board-and-care setting. Cases are taken in all Southern California counties. For a free and confidential consultation call (866) 607-1325, or fill out an online form.