Alec Hamilton, Assistant Producer, WNYC News
Alec Hamilton is an Assistant Producer in the WNYC newsroom. She produces Morning Edition and starts her work day very, very early.
There is widespread and poorly regulated use of anti-psychotic medications by several New York City nursing homes, according to a new investigation by the Gotham Gazette.
The series found that one-in-four nursing home residents in the city were given anti-psychotics in 2011, and one-in-three homes dose more than a third of their residents.
Anti-psychotics are sometimes known as "chemical restraints" because of their sedative effect. They are frequently prescribed for difficult patients, such as those suffering from dementia. Yet research has found that the drugs can also lead to falls, strokes and even death.
Under federal law, anti-psychotic drugs can only be given on doctors' orders, and not so nursing home staff can better manage difficult patients.
Reporter Elbert Chu produced the series of articles and videos. He said some homes are working to find alternatives to medicating upset patients.
"One caregiver said they have to be like Sherlock Holmes and figure out what things are causing these problems that distress residents instead of just giving them drugs," he told WNYC's Soterios Johnson.
You can check out the investigation on the Gotham Gazette website.
Listen to WNYC's Soterios Johnson's full interview with Elbert Chu above.