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Overmedication in Nursing Homes: Part 1

by | Jan 7, 2016 | Nursing Home Abuse |

Undoubtedly many elders require medication and prescriptions to treat ailments and chronic conditions. Aging takes a toll on all of us, after all. Overmedication is a very real problem for elders in nursing homes across the country, though, but not many people are talking about it. In order to address and correct this widespread issue, it needs to first be understood.

How Does Overmedication Occur?

Overmedication occurs when someone is given too much of a prescription, either in one dosage or over a period of time. In many overmedication cases, no medicine or prescription was even necessary and yet the elder is given it all the same.

There are several reasons as to why overmedication can happen:

1. Neglect: Attendants and nursing home staff are unaware of the general care for the elder. Multiple nurses might give the same dose to an individual without realizing it, creating a dangerous overlap. Failing to diagnose a health problem correctly can also lead to wrong medicine or wrong doses being prescribed.

2. Manipulation: Malicious caregivers may intentionally overmedicate an elder and tamper with dosages. They may do so to cause harm to the elder who is unaware of the dangers, or simply to extract more payment from them as they provide medical treatments.

3. Control: It is not uncommon for medication to cause sleepiness and general fatigue in users. The goal of overmedication might be to allow nursing staff to more easily monitor or control the actions of elders in their care.

In each situation, the results of overmedication can be disastrous. Side-effects on the lower end of the spectrum include uncontrolled mood swings and exhaustion. Wrongful death and a worsening of physical conditions are some of the most severe consequences. Whether accidental or intentional, overmedication is a clear sign of nursing home abuse. People entrust their beloved elders’ care to nursing home staff with the expectation that they will be cared for accordingly. Something as critical as proper medication cannot be overlooked, and failing to use medicine safely must be penalized to prevent it from happening again and endangering more lives. If you think your elder may be facing abuse in their nursing home, including overmedication, contact our New Haven personal injury attorneys from Sette & Parnoff, PC right away. We may be able to create a lawsuit on your behalf that protects your elders and rewards you with fair compensation.

Call us at (203) 490-4155 for help all across Connecticut.