The Chicago Tribune did an in-depth story this past week on the medications administered by nursing homes, many of which are not needed and not appropriate for the resident's medical conditions.
Medicaid pays for medications - unlike Medicare - so it can be argued that Americans are actually better off if they are extremely low income and qualify for Medicaid which pays for all medications, as otherwise many seniors can pay $500+ per month just for the medications.
Nursing homes are only inspected once every 15 months. Many nursing aides who have worked at nursing homes have shared that they always know when the inspection team arrives and that it is important to note that any inspection results are an indication of the best days at the nursing home, since they are aware they are being inspected.
The Tribune identified 1,200 violations at Illinois nursing homes involving psychotropic medications since 2001. The actual numbers are likely far higher.
The misuse of psychotropic drugs is a nationwide problem - - giving drugs to residents to keep them sedated is cheaper (goverment pays for the drugs) and easier than providing adequate nursing aide staff.
Read the Tribune's report. Let you congressman and Senator know your views - - why are we willing to pay for nursing home care forever and medications for extremely low-income seniors on Medicaid but not provide senior care in the home and pay for medications for all the other seniors, who have assets of more than $2,000? Part-time and full-time care in the home provides better care and costs much less than nursing home care, which primarily guarantees a bed and meals, but not always adequate care services.
You may also find out about senior care programs in your state and view nursing home information on Caregiverlist.