When we think of nursing home abuse, we might first think of physical abuse, where patients are manhandled or even beaten. Staff being physically or even sexually inappropriate with patients happens all too often. Then, we might think of neglect, where basic patient care is ignored, allowing bedsores to develop, or a patient is allowed to fall because proper supports are not in place.
We are less likely to think of one of the most common forms of nursing home abuse, which is over-prescribing unnecessary medications. Some doctors will prescribe elderly patients opioids, narcotics, or sleep aids to keep the patient docile and confined to their bed. Using medication to manage behaviors that could be otherwise controlled is inappropriate.
Sometimes, the medications being prescribed are a form of financial abuse, where patients are given medications to generate profits for the drug company. Doctors might receive some form of benefits from the pharmaceutical firms for writing certain scrips, and will prescribe over-large doses of a medication, or will prescribe a medication that does nothing for the patient’s actual symptoms.
CNN is drawing attention to one pill in particular, Nuedexta, that is almost certainly being overprescribed. The pill, which is intended to treat a very specific set of symptoms that only affect one percent of the population, is being pushed in many nursing homes. Sadly, this is just one example of medication malpractice. Not only is this a financial burden on insurance companies and patients, but medications have side effects. Exposing a patient to those side effects unnecessarily is clearly wrong.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse of any kind, be it physical abuse, emotional abuse, or inappropriate medical care, please consult with an experienced attorney. These types of abuses will continue to take place until these facilities are held accountable for their actions.