There has been a lot of press recently in Australia about the overuse, and abuse of the use of antipsychotic drugs in aged and dementia care, and rather than reinvent the word-wheel, my blog today is to link you to a couple of articles.
Premature deaths linked to drugs in nursing homes
Up to 6,000 elderly people could be dying prematurely each year because of widespread over-prescription of powerful drugs to dementia patients in nursing homes.
Experts say anti-psychotic drugs can leave patients immobilised and unable to speak and are often used unnecessarily to keep dementia sufferers quiet for overworked staff.
But the drugs can increase the risk of death by 50 per cent, and family members are often left in the dark about their use… read more
In a system where drugs replace staff, no-one can hear you scream
I imagine if it was revealed that tens of thousands of ”disturbed” young people were being condemned to a premature death in institutions dispensing powerful mind-altering medication, which were motivated more by the desire to sedate than to care for those under their charge.
Happily, that is not the case, but it is happening in parts of our aged care system. As the federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, has conceded, if such a crisis was affecting young people there would be an outcry, possibly even a royal commission. Tragically, when it comes to elderly residents living with dementia in Australia’s hostels and nursing homes, there is no apparent outrage, not even a sense of urgency, except in the anguished cries of bereaved and angry family members. It is not overstating it to claim that this situation constitutes a human rights scandal.
In the past two weeks, the media, in two ABC Lateline programs, has directed a searching beam of accusation against a significant portion of the aged care industry over this issue… read more