Throughout the pandemic, I have written a number of posts on BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (e.g. here, here here, here, here) and more formal publications about the horrors of nursing homes in Canada and abroad and the ageism and ableism that the institutionalization of elders and disabled people reinforces. In “Philosophy of Disability, Conceptual Engineering, and the Nursing Home-Industrial-Complex,” I pointed out, for example, that philosophers, including feminist philosophers, have largely ignored the incarceration of elders and other disabled people in nursing homes and other so-called long-term care institutions, as well as the dire state of these institutions.
The refusal of philosophers to address the situations in which many elders and disabled people are forced to live persists, even though thousands of “residents” confined to nursing homes have perished during the pandemic due to lack of infection control, neglect, dehydration, and other remediable circumstances. As I note in the article linked above, (over)medicating elders and disabled people confined in these places in order to make them compliant and manageable is one of the forms of mistreatment and abuse that has increased significantly over the course of the pandemic.
I was therefore interested to read and want to draw to your attention “More Than 1 in 5 Residents in Long-term Care Given Anti-Psychotics Without a Diagnosis, Data Shows,” an article on the CBC website that highlights the circumstances surrounding both the treatment in a nursing home and death of philosopher Robert Pinto. In the article, Pinto’s daughter describes the changes in her father that antipsychotic medication that he was prescribed precipitated. The following is an excerpt from the article:
Shortly before he died in 2019, Robert Pinto, who lived in a long-term care facility in Windsor, was sent to hospital with a respiratory infection. Once his antipsychotic medication was cut back there, “he was very different,” said his daughter, Laura.
He still had dementia, but his appetite returned, as did his ability to recall certain memories and to enjoy poetry.
“He was able to sing songs from his youth, that sort of thing,” she said. “All of that had disappeared when he was heavily sedated.”
“You didn’t see that quality of life.”
You can find the entire article on the CBC website here.
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