Are Nursing Homes in New York City Abusing Antipsychotic Drugs as “Chemical Restraints?”

Antipsychotic drugs, such as Seroquel and Haldol, are often used in nursing homes as “chemical restraints.”  A recent investigation found that the seemingly underregulated practice is prevalent within New York City nursing homes, even though the use of such drugs “can lead to falls, strokes, and even death.”  Analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that approximately 25% of nursing home residents in New York City received antipsychotic drugs in 2011.  Furthermore, at a number of facilities, the high rate of antipsychotic drug usage was “associated with fewer nursing hours per patient, and higher rates of bedsores and depression.”  However, within the last three years, not one of the ten New York City nursing homes with the highest rates of antipsychotic drug usage was cited for using the medications inappropriately.

Read more about the investigation, the history of “chemical straight jackets,” and the lack of effective oversight here.

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