As Americans age, the instances of mental and psychological illnesses and adverse events tend to increase. Mental health care can be a delicate challenge in any case, but may be even more problematic in nursing homes. Residents with certain psychological or behavioral issues may be diagnosed and treated for a more severe mental illness without medical justification. Although the reasons for these misdiagnoses may vary, the U.S. The Federal Government, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, recently released guidelines to prevent this misdiagnosis and treatment in facilities that accept federal money.
What Leads to Misdiagnoses in Maryland Nursing Homes?
The reasons that nursing home residents may be misdiagnosed with a severe mental illness vary, but the most concerning reasons are based on behavior control. Anecdotal evidence from nursing home employees has suggested that a difficult resident could be more easily controlled by diagnosing them with schizophrenia and administering them strong antipsychotic medications. This method of behavior management is unethical and illegal, but many nursing home residents and their families are not aware of the misdiagnoses that are occurring. In the past two decades, the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia among nursing home residents has drastically increased. This appears to be the result of a pattern of misdiagnosis and overmedication of patients.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency, had taken notice of this pattern and issued guidelines in an attempt to prevent the misdiagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses in U.S. nursing homes. The new guidelines specify the requirements for diagnosing a patient with schizophrenia, and also address the unnecessary administration of antipsychotic medications to nursing home patients. Although these guidelines should help reduce the misdiagnosis and treatment of Florida nursing home residents, the guidelines will be unable to prevent many acts of abuse. If you suspect a family member has been misdiagnosed with a mental illness while in a Florida nursing home, legal action may be needed to protect your loved one.
Standing Up for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse
Florida nursing homes often rely on the fact that their residents’ family members may not be paying close attention to the care given to their loved one. Many nursing homes will take shortcuts to cut costs and make their jobs easier. Your loved one may have been diagnosed and receiving treatment for a serious ailment that they do not suffer from. If you’re concerned, reach out to an elder-abuse attorney at Lebowitz and Mzhen to discuss your case. Our qualified nursing home abuse attorneys take pride in our work to help nursing home patients be given the respect they deserve. We accept nursing home abuse and other tort cases throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia area. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a no-obligation consultation with a dedicated lawyer from Lebowitz and Mzhen today.