Ninth Annual Elder Abuse Awareness DayCalls Attention to Nursing Home Issues

Share This Press Release

Despite the FDA black box warning on the use of antipsychotics in the elderly with dementia for its increased risk of death, 304,983 elderly nursing home residents in the U.S. were given dangerous antipsychotic drugs for dementia.

This month marks the 9th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day launched in 2006 under United Nations auspices.

Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons. It is also intended to support the UN International Plan of Action, which acknowledges elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. It is billed as a call-to-action for individuals and groups to raise awareness about elder abuse and exploitation. [1]

“It represents the one day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some of our older generations,” according to UN publications. [2]

Elder abuse remains one of the least prioritized types of violence in national surveys and action plans.

But according to the Citizens Commission for Human Rights of Florida(CCHR), the elderly in our nursing homes are being victimized by treatments whose negative consequences were not made clear to them or their families.

“More often than not, elderly in nursing homes are often quiet, appear somewhat vacant, a sort of lifelessness about them, perhaps blankly staring or deeply introspective and withdrawn”, according to one article published by the group. This condition is the result of prescription psychotropic drugs, or of Electroshock Treatment (ECT), or even simply of the threat of painful and demeaning restraints being applied involuntarily to them. [3]

“We are all concerned about our parents and grandparents,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “We expect them to be safe, but the use of psychiatric drugs and violent treatments to suppress them in old age, are more dangerous than any challenges they faced when younger.”

According to the Office of the Inspector General, 304,983 elderly nursing home residents in the U.S. were given dangerous and often deadly antipsychotic drugs, of which 88% were prescribed off-label for dementia. The FDA has specifically issued its strongest “black box” warning on the use of antipsychotics in the elderly with dementia for its increased risk of death. [4]

In all, there have been 44 warnings issued by regulatory agencies in eight countries (U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Denmark and South Africa) about the use of antipsychotics causing heart problems, weight gain, diabetes, mania, and death or increased risk of death. Of these, 11 specifically warn about the use of antipsychotic drugs in the elderly with dementia or dementia-related psychosis because of their increased risk of stroke and/or death.

According to Patricia McGinnis, Director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, “The way antipsychotic drugs are used in nursing homes is a form of elder abuse…. Instead of providing individualized care, many homes indiscriminately use these drugs to sedate and subdue residents.”

“We respect the U.N.’s concern for our elderly citizens,” said Stein. “But until abusive, profit-driven, abusive psychiatric practices against the elderly are eliminated, our goals for safety and dignity in old age are unlikely to be attained.”

About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world. In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health.’” For more information visit, www.cchrflorida.org

Sources:

[1] World Elder Abuse Awareness Day https://www.acl.gov/news-and-events/events-and-observances/world-elder-abuse-awareness-day

[2] World Elder Abuse Awareness Day http://www.un.org/en/events/elderabuse/

[3] Protect Our Elderly Against Drugs and Electroshock—Stop Abuse of the Elderly https://www.cchrint.org/issues/protectelderly/#Treatment%20Facts

[4] MEDICARE ATYPICAL ANTIPSYCHOTIC DRUG CLAIMS FOR ELDERLY NURSING HOME RESIDENTS https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-07-08-00150.pdf

Contact Info:
Name: Diane Stein
Email: Send Email
Organization: Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida
Address: 109 North Fort Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida 33755, United States
Phone: +1-727-442-8820
Website: http://www.cchrflorida.org/

Source: PressCable

Release ID: 359121