Is overmedication a concern for your elderly loved one?

| Apr 9, 2021 | nursing home negligence

Placing your elderly loved one in a Wyoming nursing home may have been a difficult decision for you. Still, in the end, you knew that trying to provide the care that your loved one needed would not come easily to you, and your lack of time, experience in care or other factors may have posed a risk to your loved one’s health. Choosing professional care seemed like the best decision for the situation, as it often is for many families in this type of scenario.

At first, your loved one may have seemed to adjust to nursing home life easily, and you may have felt confident in the care that he or she received. However, over time, you may have noticed that your loved one was sleeping more often when you went to visit or that he or she did not seem coherent through much of your visit. You may have brushed off your concerns at first, but as the issues continued, you may have had questions about your loved one’s medication regimen.

Medications in nursing facilities

Often, individuals living in nursing facilities are elderly individuals who need medication for various ailments. Perhaps your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia and needs medication to help manage the symptoms of that condition. Nursing home staff members should understand each patient’s medication needs, provide those medications at the proper time and ensure that the patient receives the correct dose. Unfortunately, that is not always what happens.

In some cases, staff members may overmedicate patients in an attempt to keep them docile. They may use unnecessary sedatives or anti-psychotic medicines that often have calming effects. While this may make staff members’ jobs easier, overmedication and unnecessary medication could have serious adverse effects on patients, including having the possibility of death.

What if you suspect changes?

If you believe that your loved one may have experienced a change in medication dosage, you should not hesitate to bring up your concerns with staff members. In some cases, attending physicians may authorize medication changes, but if that is the case, staff members should be able to show you where the doctor has recorded those changes in your loved one’s medical chart and records. Still, if the changes leave you concerned, you may benefit from having a more in-depth conversation about the changes with the appropriate physician.

If nursing home staff members do not openly answer your questions or try to brush off your concerns, you may have reason to dig deeper. Additionally, if you feel that you loved one is being mistreated in any capacity, taking steps to remove him or her from the facility may be worthwhile as well as looking into legal options for holding the nursing home staff members accountable for any harm they may have caused.