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Overmedication is a Type of Nursing Home Abuse

If you have a loved one currently residing in a nursing home, it is most likely because you and your family feel that this is where he or she can receive the care needed to remain healthy. This care includes mental stimulation and emotional support as well as medical treatment. When a nursing home’s staff is overworked, issues like neglect and inappropriate uses of medication can occur. These are both forms of elder abuse that can result in serious injury to the residents. When an individual is prescribed multiple pharmaceutical drugs without a doctor carefully examining these prescriptions to determine if harmful interactions can occur, the individual can suffer numerous physical and cognitive symptoms. This is known as polypharmacy.

Signs of Overmedication

During visits with your loved one, take note of his or her demeanor and apparent health. A few symptoms of overmedication include:

  • Drowsiness;
  • Seizures;
  • Withdrawal from loved ones and social activities;
  • Confusion; and
  • Physical discomfort.

Discuss any changes to your loved one’s health with his or her doctor. Ask why each medication was prescribed and if there are any known problematic interactions between it and other medications your loved one takes.

Seeking Compensation Through a Nursing Home Abuse Claim

Polypharmacy is an issue in nursing homes that is receiving an increasing amount of coverage by the media and understanding by nursing home residents, their caregivers, and their loved ones. In some cases, residents are given entirely inappropriate medications in an effort to keep them calm in order to make work easier for their caregivers. Whether this or polypharmacy is the reason for a resident’s overmedication, it can have harmful, lasting effects for the recipient of the drugs.

If you recognize one or more of the signs of overmedication listed above in your loved one, speak with his or her caregivers. Exhibiting one or more of these symptoms does not automatically mean he or she is being mistreated. Sometimes, changes in cognitive ability or health can cause changes in one’s behavior. But it is important that you act as an advocate for your loved one and if you do not receive an appropriate explanation for his or her symptoms, consider working with a nursing home abuse lawyer to investigate your case and potentially file a nursing home abuse claim, which can compensate your loved one for his or her damages resulting from the overmedication.

Work with an Experienced La Crosse Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you suspect your loved one is being overmedicated or otherwise mistreated by his or her caregivers, take action now. Contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer and discuss what you have observed and your suspicions about your loved one’s treatment. Your lawyer can help you determine if abuse is occurring and if so, he or she can help you seek compensation for your loved one’s losses on his or her behalf. To learn more, contact our team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to schedule your legal consultation with us.

Published April 8, 2017
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