Senate Bill Seeks to Protect Elderly Dementia Patients in Illinois, Throughout Nation

In September, Senate Bill S. 3604 entitled Improving Dementia Care Treatment for Older Adults Act of 2012 was introduced by Senators Kohl, Grassley, and Blumenthal. The bill is reportedly aimed at limiting the use of antipsychotic medications in senior citizens who suffer from dementia and reside in certified skilled nursing facilities throughout the United States.

According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, antipsychotic medications are frequently misused in elderly Americans who suffer from dementia. The drugs are reportedly often used as a means to control a nursing home resident’s behavior when a care facility lacks a sufficient number of well-trained staff. Despite that antipsychotic drugs are not approved for use in patients who suffer from dementia, an estimated 40 percent of nursing home residents diagnosed with the disease allegedly receive such drugs. Additionally, the nation’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a black box warning regarding the use of antipsychotics in senior patients. A black box warning is the highest warning the FDA issues without removing a drug from the market. When used in the aged, antipsychotics may reportedly cause stroke, confusion, increased falls, and death.

If passed, Senate Bill S. 3604 would require informed consent from a nursing home resident or personal representative before a facility could administer an antipsychotic. Additionally, it would require long-term care facilities to track antipsychotic drug use in residents on a monthly basis, create a national physician education program about drug use in elderly dementia patients, and direct a long-term study regarding the use of antipsychotics in senior citizens in a variety of settings including nursing homes and hospitals.

In Illinois, most nursing home and other long-term care facilities are held to a high standard of care by various laws and regulations. Facilities that receive funds from Medicaid and Medicare programs are considered certified skilled nursing facilities and must adhere to federal regulations. Because most nursing homes in Illinois are certified, laws such as the one proposed by Senate Bill S. 3604 would offer additional protections to elderly dementia patients in our state.

Abuse and neglect in a skilled nursing facility is not always easy to identify. Improperly medicating a resident in order to make up for staff shortcomings is wholly unacceptable. Likewise, over-medication is normally a recipe for abuse. If you suspect a long-term care facility resident was the victim of elder abuse or neglect, you should discuss your concerns with a capable lawyer.

If your friend or family member was harmed as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect in Illinois, contact the experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today. Our hardworking Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week to help you protect the rights of your elderly loved ones. For a free consultation with a skilled Illinois attorney, please do not hesitate to call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596 or contact us through our website.

More Blogs:

Chicago Nursing Assistant Jailed in Cook County Over Alleged Nursing Home Resident Abuse, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, November 12, 2012
Research Study Finds Seniors With Bedsores at Increased Risk of Death in Illinois, Nationwide, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, November 5, 2012
Additional Resources:

National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Issue Brief on the Improving Dementia Care Treatment for Older Adults Act of 2012


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