Nursing homes are meant to be safe places for elderly individuals whose loved ones are unable to provide them with the day-to-day care they need. Many nursing home residents are frail, unable to speak for themselves and tragically, those who are able to voice their concerns may not be listened to by nursing home staff. This can create a dangerous environment where nursing home residents are put at risk of being seriously injured by nursing home abuse or neglect.
One way that nursing home residents can be harmed is by being over-medicated. One recently released study, which included nursing homes in New York, found that nearly 180,000 long-term nursing home residents are administered anti-psychotic drugs that are inappropriate for their condition. According to the report, these drugs are negligently used by nursing home professionals who hope to sedate those residents they feel are difficult to handle.
This over-medicating can be deadly. Residents who are improperly given anti-psychotic drugs can suffer from an overdose, an adverse reaction to the medication or, as some have voiced concern over, an increased risk of death based merely on the properties of the drugs in question. Regardless of the extent of harm caused to these residents, such negligent actions by nursing home professionals is unacceptable. Nursing home residents, their families and the resident’s doctor should all be notified and consent before any new medication is administered.
It can be utterly heartbreaking to see a vulnerable loved one suffer avoidable harm at the hands of those who don’t seem to care. In addition to the emotional pain and suffering that can be caused, the injuries suffered by these nursing home residents can cause financial damages. Those who find themselves in this situation and who would like to find accountability and compensation for their losses should think about whether taking legal action is right for them.