Private Bill aims to curb over-medication in care homes
Parliament has been told of residential home owners using drugs as “chemical coshes” to subdue residents and cut employment costs. The allegations came as a cross-party alliance of MPs launched demands for tougher laws on the use of drugs in homes. Labour backbencher Paul Flynn told the Commons that, while most homes were run in an exemplary manner, some deliberately over medicated elderly residents. “At the end of the day some nursing homes routinely switch off their patients with the light,” Mr Flynn said. Elderly people living in nursing homes received an average of four times as many prescription items as those living in their own home he added, saying he believed one reason for over-drugging was to reduce the need for care assistants and so keep down labour costs. To counter what he saw as serious over prescribing, Mr Flynn introduced a private Bill – Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes (Medical Records) – which would increase inspection of medication and require higher standards of record keeping.