Some nursing home residents may require additional assistance with everyday grooming and general tasks. Most nursing home caregivers are well trained to meet these needs with care and compassion. However, in some nursing homes, residents who need additional assistance may be seen as problem cases to be dealt with and kept in line, sometimes by overmedicating them.
Overmedication by nursing home staff is a form of abuse. Additionally, overmedication may be used to render a resident an easier target for financial, physical, or sexual abuse. Overmedication can also cause additional medical problems and even death due to unforeseen side effects. This kind of chemical restraint is not legal under federal and most state laws.
If a person is being overmedicated, he or she may not always be able to report this to relatives or loved ones in order to get help. Fortunately, even without the resident reporting the overmedication, there are some signs that can indicate a person is being overmedicated. Some of these signs include drowsiness, mood changes, emotional problems, multiple falling accidents, abdominal pain, general aches and pains, depression, difficulty with memory and concentration, and hallucinations.
The nursing home should keep a log of all the medication they are giving each resident. A look at this log is another way to help determine if your loved one is receiving the medicine he or she needs and not being overmedicated in order to be controlled.
Some of the symptoms that a person is being overmedicated can also be symptoms of other medical conditions. When one or more of these symptoms are observed, it is important to seek a trusted doctor’s opinion as to what is happening. There may need to be an investigation and drug tests to determine how much medication a resident is receiving and if it is necessary for the resident’s treatment. If the patient is being unnecessarily medicated, it may be time to move the resident to another facility and consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Most people do not consider giving a resident medication for legitimate medical conditions under a doctor’s orders overmedication, even if the resident’s next of kin may disagree with the course of treatment. However, there may be a problem with the doctor’s treatment recommendations. A doctor may prescribe unnecessary medication or medication in larger doses than necessary. If there are doubts about the treatment, it is wise to get a second opinion as soon as possible to ensure that the prescribed medication is actually necessary.
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Taking care of your loved one residing in a nursing home is important, especially when the resident cannot take care of or fight for herself or himself. If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected while in a nursing home, you can file a claim and seek compensation. For more information on how you can file a claim on behalf of a nursing home resident, who has been the victim of abuse or neglect in Atlanta, Georgia, contact Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. to speak to an attorney today.