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CANHR Launches Website to Fight Nursing Home Drugging

As part of its Campaign to Stop Chemical Restraints in Nursing Homes, CANHR has launched a first-of-its-kind website that is exclusively devoted to helping consumers fight the rampant misuse of psychoactive drugs to sedate and subdue residents. The website is located at:

The over-drugging of nursing home residents is a leading cause of elder abuse. Nursing homes throughout California are increasingly using antipsychotics and other types of psychoactive drugs as a substitute for needed care. More that 25,000 California nursing home residents, mostly elders with dementia, are given antipsychotic drugs that nearly double their risk of death.

The website is full of valuable information to help consumers avoid or stop inappropriate use of these drugs. It features a new 3-part CANHR video series on how to prevent drugging of nursing home residents and CANHR’s acclaimed guide, Toxic Medicine, on this subject. The site includes an extensive News & Resources section that contains information on alternatives to drugs, legal options for victims, pertinent laws & regulations, media articles, studies and reports, the latest advocacy actions, government investigations and prosecutions, and more.

It also features The Stop Drugging Our Elders Blog, an online soapbox on this crisis. Check out the opening commentary – CDPH, Wherefore Art Thou? – that calls out the California Department of Public Health for standing silent while tens of thousands of California nursing home residents are being drugged into submission. Join the discussions and share your experiences and opinions on what needs to be done.

The website launch comes just as CANHR successfully uncovered federal data showing the use of antipsychotic drugs by each of California's 1,238 Medicare and Medi-Cal certified nursing homes. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the drugging data to CANHR in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The data is posted on the website.

The CMS data shows that a resident's risk of being drugged varies tremendously by nursing home, with some facilities reporting no use of antipsychotic drugs while others drug all, or nearly all of their residents. There is some good news in the data because 189 California nursing homes report giving antipsychotic drugs to less than 10 percent of their residents, far below the 25 percent statewide average. On the other hand, 227 California nursing homes are subjecting more than a third of their residents to antipsychotic drugs, an alarming level.

CANHR encourages consumers to review the website’s data before selecting a nursing home in order to avoid facilities that use antipsychotic drugs at a high rate. Recent research shows that it is often the nursing home's antipsychotic drug rate, not a resident's medical condition, which determines whether he or she will be drugged and put at the risk of premature death.

Your voice is needed more than ever. Visit the site soon and join CANHR’s campaign by signing our petition to the Governor urging him to crack down on nursing home misuse of psychoactive drugs. Most importantly, please help us fight the drugging epidemic by letting your family, friends and colleagues know about the site and urging them to join CANHR’s campaign.

Page Last Modified: September 7, 2010