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According to AARP, older adults take an average of 4.5 medications each month, and that amount tends to increase with age. When an elder in a nursing home or other long-term care facility requires medication, they trust staff members and nurses to give them the right dose of the correct medication.
Unfortunately, caregivers don’t always administer medication appropriately—and when they make mistakes, intentionally or accidentally, it could constitute elder medication abuse.
Elder medication abuse can take many forms, including improperly administered medication, overmedication, or wrong medication.
Prescription medications have specific instructions that must be followed when administering the drug. Some examples of improperly administered medication include the following:
Any failure to follow the directions of medication could be considered negligent behavior.
A 2018 Human Rights Watch report found that nursing home staff members in the United States administered antipsychotic drugs to over 179,000 people—who were not prescribed such medication—every week. These drugs are often administered without informed consent for their sedative effect.
Overmedication can be used as a type of chemical restraint, with staff members giving antipsychotic medications to nursing home residents in an attempt to subdue them. The consequences of these abusive actions are severe.
Overworked and overwhelmed staff members make mistakes. One such error could involve giving a resident medication that was prescribed to another resident. Administering the wrong medication runs the risk of dangerous side effects and drug interactions, not to mention the consequences of the untreated problem for which the medication was originally prescribed.
Symptoms of elder medication abuse can vary widely:
Keep on the lookout for these signs, and get help if you suspect medication abuse.
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.