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Nursing Home Abuse Continues

Is overmedication of nursing home residents a form of abuse?

Over a million Americans currently reside in nursing home facilities and this number is expected to increase drastically in the coming years.  Nursing home residents deserve the finest care available to them, but sadly instances of nursing home abuse remain high nationally. A recent study released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that the rate of overmedication among nursing home residents has decreased, but advocacy groups continue to caution that overmedication continues to be a significant issue.  Our Georgia nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys discuss overmedication and other forms of nursing home abuse below.

Overmedication in Nursing Homes

Overmedication occurs when a nursing home provides elderly patients with excessive amounts of medication or unnecessary medications.  Often, nursing home staff members will give residents anti-psychotic medications at high rates in order to suppress anxiety in patients, with the added effects of causing patients to feel groggy.  While anti-psychotic medications have their place in the treatment of some serious disorders, the abuse of anti-psychotic medication in the elderly has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart failure, infection, and even death.

According to the CMS, in 2011, 24 percent of all long term nursing home residents were being given anti-psychotic drugs.  Now, that number is said to have dropped to 16 percent.  While the decline is positive news and indicates that nursing homes are responding to increased regulations, it still leaves room for improvement.  Knowing the risks of overmedication for elderly individuals, advocacy groups urge that the number of nursing home residents on these medications should be zero.

Protecting Your Elderly Loved One

Overmedication is just one of the many possible forms of nursing home abuse.  Neglect, which involves substandard care of a nursing home patient, remains the most common form of abuse.  Nursing home abuse signs to watch out for include unexplained bruising, poor hygiene, frequent infections, sudden change in behavior, and the like.

You can protect your elderly relative from becoming a victim of nursing home abuse by carefully selecting the nursing home facility and making frequent, unexpected visits.  Report any concerns regarding your loved one’s care and consult with a nursing home abuse attorney if you suspect abuse has happened.

Posted in: Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys