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Overmedicating, Wrong Medication, and Nursing Home Abuse

As you grow older, the likelihood of your needing medication inevitably increases.
    PHOENIX, AZ, February 29, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- As you grow older, the likelihood of your needing medication inevitably increases.

There are a number of diseases that require an array of prescription medications, including:

- High blood pressure
- Diabetes
- Parkinson's disease
- Alzheimer's disease

In fact, Americans aged 75 and older take an average of more than 11 different medications over a one-year period, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). And because senior citizens account for about 13 percent of the population, they make up about 35 percent of all prescriptions filled.

Based on these facts, if you have an elderly family member, the chances are that he or she has taken, is currently taking or will be taking medication. And if he or she lives in a nursing home facility, you would hope that the staff is responsible and careful in managing your loved one's medication.

Medication Errors

Well-run nursing home facilities that are sufficiently staffed with detail-oriented and dedicated employees have few problems correctly administering medications. However, if the nursing home facility is under-staffed or has undertrained employees, there is a chance that your loved one may receive the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage. Unfortunately, prescription drug errors are a common mistake made in nursing home facilities. The two most common mistakes--administering the wrong medication and overmedicating patients--can have devastating outcomes.

Wrong Medication

Nursing home neglect and abuse can take several forms. The most common type of abuse is nursing home negligence, in which overworked or undertrained employees become careless and make unintentional mistakes. Giving one elderly resident a medication that is prescribed for another resident can have serious ramifications.

Dangerous, sometimes fatal side effects can occur. Additionally, some medications must be administered on a consistent basis in order to be effective and safe. Sporadic use can actually cause more harm than benefit in these cases.

Overmedicating Residents

Overmedicating residents is a common problem that plagues many nursing homes throughout the United States, and is often also caused by employee negligence due to overworked or underqualified staff.

Although it is illegal to use prescription drugs to chemically restrain elderly residents, research suggests that an estimated quarter of nursing home residents are issued anti-psychotic drugs. The outcome of taking these drugs when they are not needed can decrease the quality of your loved one's life, or even result in death. Sadly, more than 15,000 nursing home residents die annually due to the unnecessary administration of anti-psychotic drugs, reports the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

If you live in Arizona and believe your family member is being provided with incorrect medication or being overmedicated, please visit the website of the experienced Phoenix nursing home abuse lawyers at Cullan & Cullan, M.D., J.D. at www.stopnursinghomeabuse.org.


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Sara Goldstein
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Golden, CO
United States
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