Do you suspect that your parent or loved one is being over-medicated at a nursing home?
Families all over the country depend on nursing homes to provide their loved ones with attentive care for long periods of time. Despite the fact that these facilities provide an invaluable service for families who are unable to fully care for their aging parents, siblings or family members, there is a very real concern when it comes to abuse; specifically, overmedication abuse.
What is overmedication?
Simply put, overmedication can be defined as giving an individual an excess amount of medication for various reasons, with control being the major one. It’s become an accepted culture in the majority of nursing homes to overmedicate individuals in order to control their behavior as well as limit their movements. This is usually done under the guise of it being beneficial for the resident.
That being said, there are various risks that this behavior places with regard to a person’s wellbeing, and no one should have to put up with this form of elder abuse.
Last year, Johnson and Johnson agreed to pay out more than $2.2 billion when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found the corporation guilty for pushing Risperdal (an antipsychotic) to both pharmacists and physicians, offering kickbacks to those that would recommend this drug to nursing homes. It was found that antipsychotic drugs such as this one (and even Nuedexta) had the potential to cause wrongful death in patient who had dementia by way of cardiovascular failure or infection.
It’s often not hard to tell if a person is being over-medicated. Here are some warning signs:
- Unexplained changes in behavior an personality
- Fatigue and sleepiness
- Development of complications arising from overmedication such as secondary infections
- Balance problems
- Difficulty thinking or expressing a coherent thought process
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Skin rashes
The statistics are disturbing; it’s been found that more than 17 percent of all nursing homes in the U.S. give their residents more medication than is needed. The FDA estimates that more than 15,000 residents die every year as a result of being given antipsychotic medication that they didn’t even need in the first place.
Some of the common reasons why nursing homes overmedicate include:
- Having a staffing shortage; the only way they can be on top of things when it comes to providing care is to overmedicate residents so they’re managed easily by the small number of staff.
- A mentality where the nursing homes always believes in drugs as being the first and sometimes only way of dealing with resident problems, whether physical or psychological.
- Controlling troublesome residents with degenerative and chronic conditions; a risky path to take given the high death rates of dementia patients who are given antipsychotics to calm them down.
Chronic over-medication over a long period of time can cause health complications and result in patients becoming addicted to the drugs. The best way to reverse this practice would be to slowly wean the resident off the drug with the assistance of a doctor. In addition, the individual should immediately be removed from the environment and treated for any conditions that may have arisen as a result of this over-medication.
Call 1-877-405-4313 and let us help you!
The best way to handle a claim of overmedication at a nursing home is to alert the authorities right away, and then contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to determine your best course of action.
Most of the time, one overmedication case is a symptom of a much larger problem that’s largely hidden under the surface; many individuals are likely to face such a travesty in the nursing home, and getting legal help may help your family member as well as dozens of others living in the nursing home.
Please call Rasansky Law Firm today at 1-877-405-4313 for your free consultation, and we’ll see how best we can help you and your family. We look forward to helping you seek the justice your loved one deserves.
Speak With a Dallas Elder Abuse Attorney For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.