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Report Finds Widespread Human Rights Violations in Nursing Homes

In its first-ever nursing home report, Human Rights Watch slams the "massive" nonconsensual drugging of residents, enabled by a government enforcement system that coddles violators. The report is a comprehensive overview of the reasons for, and outcomes of, the terrible overuse of psychotropic drugs as chemical restraints to sedate and subdue residents. The reasons for the epidemic are:

- Weak enforcement of rules to prevent inappropriate drugging. Over 97% of the violations reviewed by HRW resulted in low level deficiency findings of "no harm."

- Managers of nursing home chains and facilities who permit a drug-first culture to keep residents docile.

- Chronic understaffing causing resident needs to go unmet.

These factors, along with others, have led to poor care and sad outcomes for residents illustrated in the report. Their stories highlight the real world consequences of a nursing home industry that gives psychotropic drugs to nearly two-thirds of residents.

For the past few years, regulators have trumpeted slow drugging reductions generated by a national campaign to improve dementia care. The campaign has withered in recent years and drugging reductions have come to a standstill since 2016. Many nursing homes have actually increased their drugging during the campaign, which should stand as an industry embarrassment.

Hopefully the HRW report will reenergize the flagging national campaign and call needed attention to the human rights deprivations that characterize care in a lot of nursing homes. The report can be read here:

A short accompanying video can be seen here: