Some elderly adults require medication for different medical conditions. With many seniors in nursing homes needing medication, one of the responsibilities of a nursing home involves not only ensuring that they receive the proper medication but also noting any changes in their medication plans immediately. Changes in medication occur frequently, and the nursing home has a responsibility to ensure that any changes in medication, as well as side effects of the medication, remain updated on the resident’s care plan. While some medications themselves may have side effects, including dizziness or drowsiness, in many cases, when elderly residents begin to take these types of medications, these side effects can result in an increased risk of them experiencing a fall.
Medication and Fall Risks
Some medications come along with side effects that may cause drug-related fall incidents in nursing homes, according to a study conducted by the Department of Health Technology and Services Research. Some drugs that elderly residents take affect the central nervous system, such as psychotropic drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, and sedatives. These drugs can significantly alter a senior’s perception and cause drowsiness and fatigue. In other cases, medications may cause muscle weakness, which leads to an increased risk of falling. Other medications may simply have the side effect of dizziness, double vision, confusion, incoordination, and lethargy, which can prove temporary or permanent. When an elderly resident takes five or more medications, the combination increases their risk of falling.
Changes in Medication
Every elderly resident of a nursing home should have a personalized care plan that doctors established exclusively for them. This care plan should include all of that resident’s particular needs, from nutrition and mobility issues to physical and mental health conditions. The care plan should also have a detailed listing of all medications the resident needs, as well as times the resident should receive the medication, the dosage, and whether food or water should precede or follow the medication.
As elderly residents continue to age, they may suffer additional health challenges, and their physician may ultimately require that prescriptions change to better address their physical or mental health needs. A nursing home should have established rules and protocols to address changes in medications for their residents. Physicians’ orders, pharmacy prescriptions, and the preparation and administration of medications should always remain coordinated so that the nursing home resident receives the correct medication, in the correct dosage, at the correct time.
Additionally, any changes in medication may involve new side effects. Every nursing home resident and their families should receive communication regarding these new side effects. Most importantly, the nursing home staff employees should revisit the resident’s care plan from time to time. Certain patients receiving new medications, or changes in existing medications, may have a greater risk of falling, which would require the nursing home staff to provide additional attention and monitoring for those residents.
Changes in Medication and Nursing Home Negligence
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, if caregivers fails to manage their prescription drug use in nursing homes, their negligence may result in a resident suffering serious injuries or even death. Even if a nursing home does prepare and administer the changed medication to the nursing home resident correctly, they must then ensure that the nursing home resident receives care, attention, and monitoring if the medication places them at a higher risk of falling.
Nursing homes may hire employees who do not have the proper training or education necessary to properly care for residents. In some scenarios, the nursing home employee does not have the training or time to ensure that all residents requiring medication changes receive the attention and care they need. When elderly residents have changes in medication, they may suddenly feel disoriented, confused, or dizzy as they attempt to go to the bathroom or get out of their bed or wheelchair. Accidents may result in residents attempting to do daily tasks they previously performed without any issues. With the change in medication, the side effects, such as drowsiness, incoordination, or double-vision, can lead to an increased risk of experiencing a fall. Nursing home negligence occurs when an elderly person suffers from a fall after a medication change due to the inattention or lack of monitoring from the nursing home employees.
Consider a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer for Your Case
If the negligence of a nursing home facility caused your elderly loved one to suffer injuries or death from a fall after receiving changes in their medication, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. We may help you hold the nursing home responsible for your elderly loved one’s injuries, and we may help you receive compensation for their medical bills and pain and suffering. Call us at (800) 842-6336.