The problems of overmedication of seniors have recently been discussed on this blog. Overmedication can have deadly consequences, but an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer knows that chemical restraints using antipsychotic medications are not the only danger that nursing home residents face. A failure to get the medications that have been prescribed is also another major issue that endangers residents of nursing homes throughout Birmingham, Homewood, Mountain Brook and surrounding areas.
Some Nursing Home Residents Not Getting their Medications
When a patient does not get medication as prescribed, this can compromise recovery, endanger health and reduce the chances of long-term survival. Both permanent residents of nursing homes, and those who are in a skilled facility temporarily seeking rehabilitation after conditions like a stroke, may be at risk of not getting medications.
Health Canal, for example, recently discussed the problem associated with Opioid prescriptions going missing in between the time that a patient is released from a hospital and the time a patient gets to a nursing home.
When a patient is discharged from the hospital to go into nursing care, the patient receives a paper-based discharge packet. This packet should contain all prescriptions that the patient is supposed to receive. In some cases, however, the Opioid prescription may go missing.
Prescriptions for Opioids and other painkillers may be taken by hired drivers; by family members who are transporting patients; or by others who have access to the discharge packet. The individual can then take the prescription to a pharmacy and have it filled for himself or herself in order to get medication to support a drug addiction or to get pills that can be resold at a significant profit on the black market.
Meanwhile, the person for whom the medication was intended may not get the pills that he or she needs in a timely manner. When the error is eventually uncovered, a new prescription may be written for the patient but the initial prescription may not ever be reported missing. This allows the cycle to perpetuate as people who transport the elderly get away with stealing medications repeatedly.
Electronic health records could help to solve this problem, as well as providing a solution to other problems that can cause patients not to get other medications such as prescriptions simply being left out of discharge packets or orders not being communicated to nursing homes by doctors.
There are, unfortunately, other problems that can prevent seniors in nursing homes from getting their medications that may be more difficult to solve. Nursing home staff members could steal pills that are of high value or to feed a staff member's addiction. Staff members may also administer the wrong doses of medication to a senior, or the wrong medication. A senior who cannot care for himself or herself is dependent upon staff to provide medication and staff members who are busy or distracted could also simply forget to provide the necessary treatment.
When staff members are careless or intentionally withhold medication, this can be a deadly form of nursing home neglect.
Victims of Birmingham, AL nursing home abuse should consult with a personal injury lawyer at Shuttlesworth Lasseter, LLC. Call 866-583-1885 today. Serving Birmingham, suburbs of Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills and surrounding locations.