Americans increasingly rely on pharmaceutical solutions to improve the quality of their lives, lengthen their life-spans, and ensure overall health. For those over the age of 65, these medications often prove invaluable for keeping the medical conditions associated with aging at bay.
While pharmaceuticals are beneficial at their core, every drug comes with its own set of side effects, and every drug combination comes with potential interaction risks. Nursing home providers are required to practice vigilance and ensure the health of every resident.
If your loved one is suffering from complications related to polypharmacy, you might be able to seek compensation. A Fort Worth polypharmacy lawyer could review the specifics of your case and advise you on how to proceed. Call (800) 842-6336 for a free consultation with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today.
Understanding Polypharmacy in Nursing Homes
Polypharmacy refers to the practice of a single patient utilizing multiple medications at one time. While not a precise medical definition, it generally applies to individuals who use four or more medications at any given time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 5 Americans between the ages of 40 and 79 use at least five drugs at any given time. Medications for depression, blood pressure medication from the ACE inhibiting class, and cholesterol medications that work by lowering lipids rank as the most commonly prescribed medications for those over 40.
Given the host of medical conditions faced by those over the age of 65, the degree to which patients are reliant on nursing homes and their staff to manage their medications, and the frequency with which seniors are prescribed multiple medications, polypharmacy can be especially prevalent in nursing homes. With polypharmacy, complications are not uncommon.
Nursing home aides are required to track every medication given, to know all possible side effects and drug interactions of every combination, and to closely monitor each patient to spot reactions immediately. If your loved one’s nursing home aides neglect any of these responsibilities or behave in an irresponsible manner, you might be able to work with a Fort Worth polypharmacy lawyer to hold the nursing home legally liable for any associated complications. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to learn more.
Risks of Polypharmacy in Seniors
Combining multiple medications to treat a host of illnesses poses risks to anyone, but the risks can be especially high for seniors. As your loved one’s advocate, understanding the risks associated with polypharmacy will better allow you to determine whether safe medical decisions are being made.
Three common risks of polypharmacy include:
- As individuals age, they don’t process medications in the same way as when they were younger. Metabolic changes make expelling medications and their byproducts harder, and an increased strain is placed on the individual’s body.
- The more medications that are given, the higher the risk of complications and dangerous interactions.
- The more medications prescribed, the higher the likelihood of dosing and delivery mistakes.
Polypharmacy can pose additional risks, according to the journal Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, including cognitive issues.
If you suspect your loved one is overmedicated or are concerned that new symptoms are the result of medications and their interactions, speak to your loved one’s case manager and voice your concerns. If you don’t feel your concerns are being taken seriously, seek counsel from a nursing home abuse lawyer.
For a free legal consultation with a Fort Worth Polypharmacy Lawyer serving Fort Worth, call (800) 794-0444
Nursing Homes and Polypharmacy Liability
The Texas Administrative Code §19.403 states the responsibilities of nursing home providers, outlines patient rights, and ensures every nursing home resident is protected from mistreatment, neglect, and abuse.
According to the Texas Administrative Code §217.11, your loved one’s nurse is responsible for:
- Regular, comprehensive, and continuous medication management
- Comprehensive knowledge of each drug’s side effects and potential interaction risks
If your loved one has developed symptoms or illnesses that appear to be the result of polypharmacy, or you have concerns that your loved one’s nursing home is neglecting their responsibilities in a way that’s producing physical or emotional distress, you may be able to seek compensation.
Damages you might be able to claim include:
- Pain and Suffering: Including any form of emotional distress as the result of their medications, their treatment, or abuse
- Medical Treatment Costs: Including treatment for symptoms related to side effects, drug interactions, any conditions that have developed as a result of polypharmacy
- Lost Wages: Including any wages lost as a result of caring for your loved one or working with their nursing home facility to address concerns
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Consult a Fort Worth Polypharmacy Lawyer
Turning over the care of your loved one to a nursing home facility can be one of the hardest decisions a family will make. You deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing their rights are being respected, their emotional and physical needs are being met promptly, and their quality of life is the best it can be.
Overmedicating or combining medications that interact in a negative way can diminish one’s quality of life, leave them vulnerable to more serious medical conditions, and—at times—prove fatal. If a loved one has experienced complications related to polypharmacy and neglect, a Fort Worth polypharmacy lawyer can assess your case, investigate neglect and abuse, explain your rights, and act as your family’s advocate.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to discuss hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer. Our legal team works on a contingency fee basis, so we collect nothing until you win an award. Call (800) 842-6336 to schedule a no-obligation consultation and stand up for your loved one’s rights.