A rampant prescription, a hidden peril

Federal data obtained by the Globe show many nursing homes make heavy use of antipsychotic drugs to pacify residents

Nursing home residents receive inappropriate drugs

In many nursing homes, a significant percentage of residents inappropriately receive powerful sedatives intended for treating psychotic patients. Dina Rudick interviews Globe Health reporter Kay Lazar on the story.

Mass. fails to rein in sedating of seniors

State regulators rarely take action against Massachusetts nursing homes that, counter to federal guidelines, use powerful antipsychotic sedatives to control unruly elderly residents, a Boston Globe investigation has found. Just 27 homes were cited for unnecessary use of antipsychotics from 2009-11, and inspectors in each of those cases did not deem the incidents as serious. The homes were not fined. Antipsychotics are intended for patients with severe mental illness and a handful of other conditions, but many homes administer them more broadly.

Part 1

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2012/04/29/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/29nursing.jpg Use of antipsychotic drugs raises alarm

Federal data obtained by the Globe show many nursing homes make heavy use of antipsychotic drugs to pacify residents.

Part 2

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2012/04/30/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/30nursingtest.jpg Finding alternatives to potent sedatives

A growing number of nursing homes are treating the agitation and disruptive behavior that often accompany dementia without resorting to antipsychotics.

How the nursing home data were analyzed

The Boston Globe examined data on more than 15,600 nursing homes across the nation for its investigation of antipsychotic overuse. The information was supplied by the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 19 months after a Freedom of Information Act request was submitted.