According to research by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, health professionals in America may overmedicate elderly adults in nursing home settings. Per the statistics, residents may receive too much medication or stay on medication for too long. Still, the question remains, how can you spot the signs of overmedication? Below you will find some symptoms that indicate that your elderly relative or elderly loved one may suffer from overmedication:
- Diminished motor skills and coordination problems: Here, you will notice a subtle or significant delay in fine motor control and your loved one’s inability to coordinate their movement with speech. Additionally, coordination problems caused by overmedication typically affect their ability to perform everyday tasks efficiently.
- Changes in sleep patterns: If your loved one has trouble sleeping, even after staying up throughout the day, you may want to pay attention to their prescription drugs. Sometimes, overmedication may lead to consistent grogginess during the day and too little or too much sleep at night.
- Memory problems: A sudden change in your loved one’s ability to concentrate on the simplest situations and recollect past events may cause reason for worry.
- Unexplained weight loss and gain: Overmedication may affect your loved one’s physical appearance. Unexplained weight loss and gain may classify as evidence of an adverse reaction of taking too many drugs and the effect it has on the body.
- Recurring injuries from falls: Due to their consistent inebriated state, your relative may suffer mild to severe injuries from slip and fall accidents. If you notice that they seem more accident-prone, you should seek a doctor immediately.
- Lack of personal hygiene: When overmedication results in low energy levels, your loved one may have a complete lack of interest in taking care of themselves. Their actions may include refusing to brush their teeth, taking a bath, using deodorant, dressing up, and keeping up with normal personal hygiene activities.
- Physical complications: Frequent skin flushes, rashes, bodily aches and pains, abdominal pains, sudden headaches, dry mouth, and ulcers all may signal overmedication in the elderly.
What Causes Overmedication?
Reasons for overmedication in elderly adults living in nursing home facilities may include:
- Doctor or pharmacist errors: A common example of medical malpractice alludes to the errors that occur when the doctor prescribes or dispenses the drug.
- Failure to review medical history: When a doctor fails to review their patient’s medical records, overmedication may occur since they remain unaware of the existence of other prescriptions.
- Personal error in use or dosage: Prescription drugs used incorrectly or taken in the wrong dosage can lead to overmedication.
- Continuing to take the medication even after the stipulated period: Taking the drugs long after doctor’s orders may give rise to adverse reactions.
Preventing Overmedication in the Elderly
Overmedication can lead to fatal results, so communicate with your doctors and medical health providers about every medication your loved one takes. Additionally, remember to:
- Report all symptoms and signs of overmedication immediately to the doctor, even if they seem trivial or unrelated.
- Keep all prescribed drugs organized and note the dosages and frequency. This includes vitamins and over-the-counter drugs. Make sure to ask your doctor about drug interactions and the steps to take when a reaction occurs.
- Research any medication the doctor prescribes and ask questions. You should inquire about what to do when you miss a dose, when to take the drug, and when to lower the dose or discontinue taking the medication.
- Educate yourself about drug dependence and addiction.
Do You Need a Nursing Home Lawyer?
When a healthcare provider breaches their duty of care, they may bear accountability for your losses. If you suspect signs of overmedication by your loved one’s doctor or caregiver, you should contact medical assistance immediately. Afterward, the lawyers from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may help you recover awards and get the justice your loved one deserves. Take advantage of our free consultation to speak to a member of our team about your legal options. We operate on a contingency-fee basis, so you do not have to worry about incurring any financial burden. We only collect payment after we win compensation for you. Call us now at (800) 842-6336.
Statutes of limitation apply in personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits, so do not let your opportunity to take legal action slip away. The sooner you call, the sooner we may begin building your case.