Disturbing Statistics Regarding Overmedicating Nursing Home Residents

People across the country and here in Tennessee often turn to nursing homes for the care of their aging or disabled loved ones. However, there are a number of issues that arise in nursing homes. Specifically, nursing home abuse has become a real problem with one out of every three nursing homes in the country being cited for such mistreatment. Whether stemming from malnutrition, dehydration or even mental or sexual abuse, nursing home abuse can take a variety of forms. One of the more common forms of nursing home abuse in Tennessee and throughout our country is the overmedication of nursing home residents.

While one of the most important aspects of nursing home care involves determining whether residents are receiving the proper doses of their medication, nursing homes have all too often been found to overmedicate residents. With residents averaging between seven and eight different medications in a month, medicating residents can be a very involved process. If the nursing home staff is not attentive, overmedication of your loved one can easily occur. Even with federal regulations in place to ensure a system for the proper medication of residents, overmedication occurs much too often.

A number of recent statistics demonstrate just how prevalent overmedication is within nursing homes. In 2010, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that nearly 17 percent of nursing home residents were receiving antipsychotic medications that exceeded recommended levels on a daily basis. While this percentage varies from state to state, it has been found as high as 25 percent in California and an astonishing 71 percent in Florida. Another statistic shows that in 2010 as high as 40 percent of nursing home residents were given antipsychotic drugs despite not being diagnosed with psychoses.

Even with these alarming statistics about overmedication, a large portion of nursing home abuse cases go unreported. If you have loved ones being cared for in a nursing home facility, it is important to watch for any warning signs of overmedication. Some of the more common signs of residents being overmedicated may include:

• Erratic personality or behavioral changes • Sudden reclusive actions toward staff, family, or friends • Exhaustion or fatigue • Confusion • Oversleeping • Other medical complications
The emerging trend of using medication, specifically psychoactive medication, to control residents is obviously alarming and extremely dangerous. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has estimated that nearly 15,000 nursing home residents die each year from unprescribed anti-psychotic medication. Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why nursing homes turn to using anti-psychotic medication, including nursing home staff shortages and even a “drug-first” mentality to treat residents.

If you notice warning signs and believe that your loved one may be suffering from overmedication, request to look over the log of drugs being prescribed. Also, visiting when medication is given to residents may be beneficial to see if medication is being distributed properly.

If you have any questions about the care of your loved one in a nursing home, be sure to contact an experienced Tennessee nursing home lawyer. Our team of Tennessee nursing home malpractice attorneys would be happy to answer any questions that you may have if you are worried about the possible abuse of a loved one in a nursing home facility.

American Association of Justice Badge
Justia Badge for
Million Dollar Advocates Forum Badge
Best of the Bar Badge
AV Preeminent Badge
Contact Information