Overmedication and Medication Errors

A nursing home or assisted living is not allowed to medicate residents so they are easier for the staff to deal with or to manage the facility’s own understaffing issues. If a facility is using medication for this purpose, it is being used as a chemical restraint.  Falls, bedsores, adverse drug interactions and death are potentially results of overmedicating nursing home residents.

Signs and symptoms of overmedication can include a lack of energy and confusion, hallucinations, or a decrease in appetite.

A nursing home or assisted living is also required to provide all medications to residents as ordered by physicians.  Physicians are not required to be in a nursing home or assisted living every day.  Most physicians are initially issuing orders and prescribing medications based on nursing staff’s observations.

When residents leave a nursing home or assisted living to go to a hospital and return to the facility, the staff must perform a medication check to ensure that all medications ordered on discharge are then re-started at the nursing home on return of the resident.

Distractions, failure to cross-check, and understaffing can lead to medication errors.  Consistent conformity with nursing home and assisted living policies and procedures is necessary to ensure residents timely receive their prescribed medications.

Contact Schall at Law if you or a loved one has sustained an injury as a result of a nursing home, assisted living or group home overmedicating or failing to provide ordered medication.