Investigation into Chemical Restraint of Elderly Nursing Home Residents

San Diego’s 10News I-Team has conducted an investigation into what it is calling the chemical restraint of elderly residents of nursing homes. That is, using anti-psychotic drugs not necessarily for their prescribed use, but to control behavior in residents who otherwise wouldn’t be candidates for the drugs.

The investigation profiles the family of Dr. Keith Blair, a retired dentist, who died at age 86 after a stay at Arbor Hills Nursing Center in La Mesa. The family contends Dr. Blair’s death was expedited by the use of the anti-psychotic drugs Risperdal and Haldol that were given without consent. Both drugs contain warnings that state the drugs are “associated with an increased risk of mortality in elderly patients.”

Upon one visit to the nursing home to see her father, Marian Hollingsworth told the I-Team that her father was “completely out of it. I shook him on the bed, I hollered his name. I asked the nurse what was going on. I couldn’t wake him up. She said, ‘Oh, he was sleepy last night.'”
After her father’ died, a review of his medical records showed that staff at both the hospitals and the nursing home gave him Risperdal and Haldol without consent. The family has filed a complaint with the California Department of Public Health.

The use of anti-psychotic drugs in the elderly for behavior control is a growing concern among advocates for the elderly. The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform will be launching a website on this topic alone, and Dr. David Graham, a Food and Drug Administration expert, recently told Congress that the practice of drugging the elderly to control them results in at least 15,000 deaths annually.

A video of the I-Team story can be found by CLICKING HERE


The San Diego nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Walton Law Firm provide free consultations to individuals and families who believe a loved one has been abused or neglected in the nursing home or assisted living setting. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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