My personal experience as a Missouri Nursing Home Lawyer is that far too many nursing home residents are overmedicated by those responsible for providing quality care. In my job I often meet with residents and their families in nursing homes. On some of those occasions, the residents simply could not wake up. Their eyes fluttered as though they were struggling to wake up and participate in the conversation happening around them. Sadly, the government has determined that my experience is not unique.
The U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services recently prepared a report entitled Medicare Atypical Antipsychotic Drug Claims For Elderly Nursing Home Residents that found that too many nursing home institutions failed to comply with regulations designed to prevent overmedication. It is well known that prescribing antipsychotic medication to elderly residents with dementia is potentially lethal, yet 88% of these individuals receive such prescriptions.
Family members must make certain that they know what medications their loved one is receiving. They must educate themselves on the medications and the proper dosages. They must regularly ask questions of the caregivers and insist upon answers. Family members must know what the possible side effects are and should closely monitor their loved one for any signs of side effects.
Why would a nursing home overmedicate a resident? First, to be fair to the nursing home industry, many times the overmedication is completely unintentional. Elderly residents are more much more susceptible to overmedication than are younger people. The second reason is an indictment of the nursing home industry. Overmedicated residents do complain and are, therefore, easier to care for with a reduced staff. Residents who ask to be taken to the restroom, or who need more water or need help walking down the hallway often require assistance from staff members. When a nursing home operates on reduced staff (as most nursing homes do) drugged residents are easier to manage than those who are alert and active.
If you are concerned about the care your loved one is receiving in a nursing home, call our St. Louis personal injury lawyer David Terry for a free consultation at 1-888-317-2525.