- One in nine nursing home residents across the country has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- At least 21% of residents are on antipsychotics, The New York Times reported.
- The Times found out that the diagnosis is given so residents can get these drugs to help facilities manage them.
At least 21% of nursing home residents across the country have been prescribed antipsychotics, with one in nine residents diagnosed with schizophrenia, The New York Times reported.
Many diagnoses appear to be efforts to give residents sedating drugs such as Haldol, so understaffed facilities can better manage them, even when there is no evidence that a patient has schizophrenia, has revealed the Times analysis.
The diagnosis is given to treat residents for symptoms like restlessness and restlessness.
Since 2012, there has been a 70% increase in the number of nursing home residents diagnosed with the disorder.
In the United States, schizophrenia is prevalent in 0.25% and 0.64% Population.
The disorder, which exhibits psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and disturbed thinking, is typically diagnosed when someone is between their late teens and early 30s, according to National Institute of Mental Health.
“People don’t just wake up with schizophrenia when they’re older,” Dr. Michael Wasserman, a geriatrician and former nursing home executive who has become an industry critic, told The Times. “It’s used to bend the rules.”
The Medicare website, which tracks the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes, found that about 15% of residents were taking these drugs, but the Times analysis found that these statistics do not include residents who have been diagnosed of schizophrenia. This means that the actual number of people on antipsychotics is much higher.
Facilities are not required to report residents using antipsychotic drugs to the government if those residents are receiving the drug to treat schizophrenia, the Times reported.
A May report from the Inspector General of the Ministry of Health and Social Services found that about one-third of nursing home residents who were diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2018 had no Medicare records indicating they had been treated for it.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at time of publication, but spokeswoman Catherine Howden told The Times the agency was “concerned about the practice as a means of circumvent the protections offered by these regulations “.