Many nursing home residents are on a variety of prescription drugs to regulate their medical conditions. These drugs are recorded and administered by the staff of the nursing home. However, the journey from the pharmacist to the patient is a way for medication errors to occur. The general public is starting to hear about these errors and some cases are being nationally publicized.
An article by the New York Times exposed an investigation into nursing homes in California that have had a high number of prescription drug errors by pharmacists. According to the article, "In reports obtained by a local newspaper, the department found that in 18 of the 32 investigations conducted in California nursing homes between May 2010 and June 2011 pharmacists failed to red-flag cases in which residents were inappropriately prescribed powerful antipsychotic medications like Seroquel, a drug used to treat schizophrenia. Pharmacists also overlooked or approved cases in which medications were prescribed at questionable levels or in unsafe combinations that could put patients at risk of seizures, accidents or even death, according to the public health department". The United States Department of Health is also keeping an eye on this phenomenon after a recent study it conducted in which it was found that, in nursing homes across the country, at least 40 percent of all Medicare claims for antipsychotics, are "inappropriate, given in excessive doses, given for too long, given without the need for use, without adequate monitoring or “in the presence of adverse consequences" and should be reduced or discontinued."
It is important to monitor your loved one's medication, including type and dosage, in order to help minimize the risk of injury or illness. If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home setting and if you feel that the nursing home has improperly medicated your loved one, it may be time to seek legal assistance. Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence. For more information on him and his firm, please visit our website or call us at (814) 946-4100.