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Report: Mass. Regulators Rarely Take Action Against Nursing Homes That Use Powerful Sedatives To Control Residents

New Hampshire Public Radio, flickr

A newspaper reports that Massachusetts regulators rarely take action against nursing homes that use powerful anti-psychotic sedatives to control elderly residents.  The Boston Globe reported on Sunday that 27 homes were cited for unnecessary use of antipsychotics between 2009 and 2011. Inspectors did not consider the incidents serious.  The homes were not fined.  Federal guidelines say antipsychotics are intended for patients with severe mental illness and a few other conditions. But many nursing homes administer them to residents who assault others.   Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, Massachusetts’ top nursing home regulator, says inspectors try to justify reprimands, but federal rules are ambiguous. She says harm from inappropriate use of antipsychotics can be subtle, indirect and be apparent weeks after drugs are administered. That makes it hard for penalties to stick if nursing homes appeal a reprimand. (Associated Press)

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