by Anthony Chicotel, CANHR Staff Attorney
Last weekend’s Sacramento Bee articles about falsified nursing home records would certainly come as no shock to anyone familiar with the misuse of psychotropic drugs on residents. California nursing homes are charged with verifying informed consent of residents who are prescribed psychotropic drugs. Some nursing homes have taken to simply (and fraudulently) writing “informed consent obtained” or “i.c.o.” whenever transcribing a psych drug prescription.
False records of informed consent often crumble after a bit of inspection. Two recent examples are illustrative. At one nursing home near Sacramento, a resident was found to to have an “i.c.o.” notation in his chart. On further examination, the alleged informed consent was determined to be fraudulent. Upon questioning by a Department of Public Health investigator, the staff were unable to explain how the informed consent notation had appeared. At another nursing home in Sacramento, a staff person acknowledged fraudulently writing “i.c.o.” to a Seroquel prescription and stated “the first director of nursing told me to put it there.”
Informed consent is routinely disregarded in nursing home administration of psych drugs. False records that give an inaccurate portrayal of a resident’s care is bad enough. Using a fabricated notation to avoid explaining potentially deadly “treatment” to a resident or his decision-maker is downright dirty.