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Many elderly assisted care patients are prescribed psychotropic/psychotherapeutic drugs that can cause altered perception, mood, consciousness, cognition and behavior. Used appropriately and with proper supervision, these medications can enhance quality of life. Unfortunately, instances of improper use, misdiagnosis and negligence result in numerous cases of abuse, suffering, injury or even death for elderly patients receiving nursing care.
Psychotropic drugs used most often with elderly patients include Ativan, Seroquel, Haldol, Risperdal, Restoril and Ambien. Common adverse side effects of these psychotropic medications include:
These symptoms individually and in combination can result in catastrophic health consequences and accidents, including falls, inability to express need for care, inability to maintain adequate nutrition or hydration, and more.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have a legal responsibility to have sufficient properly trained staff, monitor patients closely, take precise care with medications and look carefully for signs of adverse reactions, over medication and side effects. Informed consent from the patient or authorized representative/medical decision-maker is required.