Overmedication results when elderly patients take unneeded or excessive quantities of medication. When staff intentionally overmedicate their residents, it is considered elder abuse, whereas accidental overmedication may point to nursing home neglect. Nursing home staff may purposely overmedicate their residents to better control those who are more difficult and stubborn. If you believe your loved one may be a victim of overmedication at their nursing home, it is important to act quickly to avoid further injury and hold the proper parties accountable.
What Does Overmedication Look Like in Nursing Homes?
Lethargy, isolation, confusion, and excessive sleeping are just a few of the signs that someone may notice if their loved one is a victim of overmedication. Additionally, excessive quantities of medication can lead to depression, injury, and even death. When the overmedication is chronic, not only may the resident develop an addiction, but acute medical conditions may also.
There are several manners in which nursing staff may overmedicate their residents. If a staff member administers medication and neglects to monitor how the drug will interact with the resident’s other medications, this may be considered overmedication. Additionally, if there is no prescription for the medication, administering the drug can be considered overmedication.
What Can You Do If Your Loved One Is Being Overmedicated At Their Nursing Home?
If a loved one has been harmed by overmedication by nursing home staff, it is important to follow steps that will help the individual return to their full health and hold the necessary parties responsible. If the overmedication occurred over a long period of time, it is important for the resident to be weaned from the medication. It is also critical that the resident be removed from the situation if it is believed that abuse or neglect was involved.
An attorney can assist in establishing the proper manner in which to report the overmedication and ensure that other residents do not fall victim as well. There are numerous outlets that will accept the suspected abuse or neglect report including the Regional Ombudsman, the Senior Helpline, or the Illinois Department of Public Health.
It may be possible to hold the responsible parties liable in court in order to recover the damages incurred due to the overmedication. If it is found that the nursing home regularly practices overmedicating its residents, the facility can be held directly accountable for the abuse or neglect and sustained injuries. In instances when the staff acts independently, the facility may be liable for inadequate staff training or hiring. Insufficient training and understaffing can also lead to accidental overmedication.
Additionally, if purposeful overmedication results in a resident’s injuries or death, punitive damages may be available to punish the defendant and discourage this behavior in the future.
Contact Our Aurora, IL Personal Injury Attorney Today
It can be incredibly worrisome to rely on a nursing home to adequately and compassionately care for a loved one. Families hold substantial trust in these facilities and when that trust is breached, it can be devastating. If you are concerned that your loved one may be suffering from overmedication or other forms of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may want to work with an experienced Kane County nursing home abuse attorney. Contact Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C. to schedule your free consultation by calling 630-907-0909.