Medication Overdose of Nursing Home Residents
Medication overdose through either inattention or other medication error is a serious problem in nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
According to NIHSeniorHealth: Older Adults and Medications – Older people as a group tend to have more long-term, chronic illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease than any other age group. Because they may have a number of health problems or issues at the same time, it is common for older people to take many different drugs. Here are some tips on how to take medicines safely and get the best results from them.
NIHSeniorHealth suggests – if your doctor prescribes a medication for your condition, try to find out as much about it as you can, including how to take it properly. Ask the following questions and write down the answers before leaving the doctor’s office.
- What is the name of the condition this medicine will treat?
- What is the name of the medicine?
- How does it treat my condition?
- What is the name of its active ingredient?
- Did you check that it doesn’t contain anything I’m allergic to?
- How long will it take to work?
- How should I store the medication?
- Does it need to be refrigerated?
- Can the pharmacist substitute a less expensive, generic form of the medicine?
Find Out How to Take the Medication
Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse about the right way to take any medicine before you start to use it. Ask questions when you don’t know the meaning of a word, or when instructions aren’t clear. Here are some specific questions to ask.
- Should I take it as needed or on a schedule?
- Should I take it at a certain time of day?
- How much should I take each time?
- Do I need to take it with food?
- May I drink alcohol while on this medication?
- How long will I have to take it?
Ask [Your Doctor] What to Expect
- How will I feel once I start taking this medicine?
- How will I know if this medicine is working?
- If I forget to take it, what should I do?
- What side effects might I expect?
- Should I report them?
- Can this medicine interact with other prescription and over-the-counter medicines — including herbal and dietary supplements — that I am taking now?
Healthinaging.org provides information from healthcare professionals who specialize in the care of older adults, in an article titled: Avoiding Overmedication and Harmful Drug Reactions – as you grow older, you are more likely to develop long-term health conditions that require taking multiple medications. Many older people also take over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins, or supplements. As a result, older adults have a higher risk of overmedication and unwanted drug reactions (adverse drug events).
If you are interested in a free consultation with an experienced attorney who has handled numerous nursing home medication error cases call: Kenneth L. LaBore at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 at by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.