According to a BioMed Central study on the definition of polypharmacy, there is a lack of consensus among medical professionals on how many simultaneous medications a patient can take before it is considered polypharmacy. In most cases, polypharmacy is defined as when a patient takes “five or more medications daily” to control one or more health conditions.
There are ups and downs to polypharmacy, which is why it is especially important for older patients and their doctors to weigh the benefits and risks of taking multiple medications at once. When a polypharmacy patient experiences additional health complications or injuries from overprescribed medications, medical professionals can be held liable for the outcome. If your loved one in a nursing home suffered due to over-prescribed medication, you will want to contact a San Francisco polypharmacy lawyer. Pintas & Mullins can build your case to hold negligent nursing home professionals accountable.
About Multimorbidity and Polypharmacy
A patient has multimorbidity when they have “two or more chronic health conditions.” The use of polypharmacy is common for people who have multimorbidity, and multiple medications can be used to treat one condition or symptom. In an analysis of multiple studies on polypharmacy, BioMed Central found that multimorbidity presents a difficult treatment route for both patients and medical professionals. Additionally, patients undergoing treatment for multiple health conditions were more likely to experience the following negative effects:
- Lower quality of life
- Worsening health conditions
- Incurred injuries and disabilities
- Increased stress
- More hospitalization times
The list above is not exhaustive of all the potential negative outcomes for patients with multimorbidity. Managing multiple health conditions is common in older people, but polypharmacy may not always be effective for treatment.
Risks of Polypharmacy
The risks of polypharmacy vary as much as medical professionals’ opinions on the concept. If your loved one was prescribed multiple medications, their doctor could have made the decision, despite the following known risks of polypharmacy:
- Increased health risks with each additional medication
- Drug interactions with another drug
- Drug interactions with another chronic health condition
- Decreased kidney function
- Decreased liver function
- Reduced hearing, vision, cognition, and mobility
Although the list of known polypharmacy risks is backed up by multiple scientific publications, it is not all-inclusive. Your loved one’s situation will be unique, and all experienced side effects should be considered when evaluating their treatment in a nursing home.
Complicated polypharmacy cases would benefit from the investigation of a lawyer who can understand and navigate state and federal laws concerning nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, and personal injury. During your free consultation with the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, mention that you would like to work with a San Francisco polypharmacy lawyer, when you call us today.
Legal Options for Multiple Medication Accidents
From the moment you begin working with our team of lawyers, you will be free of the burden of navigating the complicated litigation that surrounds polypharmacy. Our lawyers can build your case from start to finish, helping you and your loved ones to claim a well-deserved settlement for your suffering.
Your loved one is protected from unnecessary use of medications in state and federal law, where nursing homes are not permitted to use any medication your loved one does not need. According to the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), a medication is unnecessary when it is prescribed: “(1) in excessive dose; (2) for an excessive period of time; (3) without adequate monitoring; (4) without adequate justification; or (5) in the presence of adverse consequences which indicate the dose should be reduced or discontinued.”
Our lawyers will follow state and federal laws to protect your loved one’s rights. In California, you may be eligible to pursue any of the following types of claims:
- Personal Injury: In a personal injury case, plaintiffs must prove that injuries happened due to the negligence of another person. For nursing homes, a personal injury case may pursue a legal battle against a nursing home, its non-medical staffers, or other direct caregivers. Personal injury cases seek compensation to cover expenses for prescription medications, visits to the doctor, and other medical equipment necessary to recover from the injury. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California is 2 years from the date of the injury.
- Breach of Contract: Most nursing homes in California are at least partially funded by Medicare, which means that they must follow the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 to receive compensation from the federal government. This act requires nursing homes to establish a care plan, and to provide for your loved one’s physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being to the fullest extent possible. When your loved one is injured or suffers from overprescribed medications, it could indicate a situation in which they are being abused or neglected. The statute of limitations for a breach of a written contract in California is 4 years if written, and 2 years if an oral agreement.
- Medical Malpractice: If a licensed medical professional acted in bad faith towards your loved one, they may have overprescribed medications or advised unnecessary medications before taking other treatment routes. A medical malpractice lawsuit may also concern medication errors, such as inappropriate administration of medications by a Registered Nurse at the nursing home. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in California ranges between 1 and 3 years.
In any case, our goal is to help you and your vulnerable loved one during this difficult time.
For a free legal consultation with an polypharmacy lawyer serving San Francisco, call (800) 794-0444
Contact Nursing Home Lawyers Today
The best time to act to protect your loved one’s rights and interests is now. Do not wait until things get worse to act against negligent nursing homes. Work with a San Francisco polypharmacy lawyer on the litigation process. Please call to get started.