Are nursing homes negligent in their medication procedures?

Residents of assisted living or nursing home facilities may require oversight in the medications they take. Some facilities may also have in-house medical staff members that prescribe medications. Yet given the complexities of the modern pharmaceutical industry, are enough safety protocols in place to protect residents from potentially harmful medication interactions? 

In a specific example, up to 20 percent of nursing home residents might be prescribed unnecessary and even dangerous antipsychotic drugs. That data, contained in a report prepared by the AARP, cites causes such as inadequate training, understaffing, and aggressive marketing from pharmaceutical companies.

Federal officials have gotten involved in this issue. A settlement several years ago between drug maker Johnson & Johnson and the U.S. Department of Justice resolved charges of aggressive nursing home marketing of drugs not approved as safe for an elderly population.

Yet even in hospital settings, medication safeguards may be lacking. According to the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization, many computer-based systems still fail to catch potentially harmful medication interactions. The group surveyed around 1,800 hospitals and discovered that the software used by those facilities had not flagged about 40 percent of potentially harmful prescriptions.

Negligent safety protocols regarding medications can be disguised as other natural causes in a nursing home setting. However, an experienced personal injury law firm can investigate such excuses and get to the bottom of an injury. That investigation may reveal a pattern of neglect or a systemic shortcoming. If you are concerned about an elderly loved one’s mistreatment at a nursing home, don’t delay in contacting an attorney who focuses on nursing home abuse and neglect.

Source: KHN, “Hospital Software Often Doesn’t Flag Unsafe Drug Prescriptions, Report Finds,” Shefali Luthra, April 7, 2016

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