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Depression in nursing homes: When medication isn’t the answer

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2016 | Nursing Home Neglect |

If you are unable to care for an older or disabled family member, placing him or her in a nursing home in Alabama may have been your best hope of ensuring those health needs are met. Maintaining physical health is an important goal, but nursing home residents may discover that their mental health needs have been neglected. We at the Sapp Law Firm, L.L.C., understand that elder care encompasses a wide range of solutions, which nursing homes may be ill-equipped to provide.

According to the Catholic Health Association of the United States, half of the nursing home residents in the country are suffering from symptoms of depression. Although circumstances and contributing factors for your loved one may be vastly different from the person in the next room, the solution provided in most cases is a one-size-fits-all approach: antidepressants. One study suggests that the cause of the depression may affect whether a person will have a positive result from the medication.

Deteriorating health, loss of mobility and significant social changes are issues that your loved one may be facing after the transition to a nursing home. Researchers discovered that when the residents included in the study were provided with the opportunity to engage in activities that they had enjoyed before they moved, the depressive symptoms disappeared. However, they did not respond to the antidepressants that were prescribed to them.

Mental health issues among the elderly can be very complex, and your nursing home may not have the nonpharmacological resources to fully respond to your loved one’s unique needs. However, in many cases, antidepressants are used simply as a substitute for individual treatment. Unfortunately, antidepressants can have many negative effects, including an increased risk of falls. This information about depression in nursing homes is provided for your education, but it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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