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Long-Term Care Consumers Family Members Advocates

Support S. 3604; Require Informed Consent for Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes!

26% of all nursing home residents are given antipsychotic medications. Use is even higher (nearly 40%) among residents with dementia - the very individuals that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns are at serious risk of medical complications and death from taking antipsychotics. Yet far too often, no one discusses these dangers with residents and their families or whether or not these medications should be given.

“Informed consent” means patients have a choice and know the risks and benefits of a medication or procedure – this is a critical part of ethical health care delivery in the United States.

Nursing home residents with dementia, or an individual with legal authority to act on their behalf, should have the same clear rights to informed consent when it comes to antipsychotic medications that can be life-threatening.

S. 3604, the Improving Dementia Care Treatment for Older Adults Act - introduced by Senators Kohl (D-WI), Grassley (R-IA), and Blumenthal (D-CT) - would require nursing homes to obtain informed consent before an antipsychotic medication is prescribed for a resident with dementia. A process would be developed for providing clear information about possible side effects and risks associated with antipsychotics, as well as any alternative treatments, including non-drug interventions. 

The bill also includes:

  • Education for prescribers
  • Monthly reports on instances where antipsychotics are administered to residents with dementia for uses not approved by the FDA; and
  • A study on the appropriate prescribing of antipsychotics for hospital patients

Urge your Senators to support this important legislation today!

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