The stigma associated with life in nursing homes remain strong. Many seniors do everything in their power to avoid moving into a skilled nursing facility over fears of the quality of life that residents experience. These are common worries, and a key reason that New York resident conduct early estate planning and elder care planning to ensure they are doing everything they can so they have quality living options if necessary down the road.
Unfortunately, progress in addressing quality of life issues at these facilities is often slow-going. For example, one of the most well-known issues affecting nursing homes throughout the country, including New York, is the overuse of antipsychotic drugs to “control” residents. These “chemical restraints” make it easier for employees to watch a larger number residents. But the drug use drastically lower the quality of life of many residents, often placing them in a stupor without the ability to meaningfully interact with the world.
The problem of chemical restraints have been known for years, and recently federal agencies pushed to tackle the issue. But, so far, the progress has been limited. As a New York World story noted, the overall decrease in antipsychotic use is modest and some facilities throughout New York continue to increase use of the dangerous drugs.