Signs of OvermedicationWith the typical resident taking several different drugs, nursing home staff can easily give the wrong dosage—or the wrong drugs. However, overmedication often takes place with antipsychotic medicines, and it happens for one reason: control. According to statistics from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Services in 2010, 17 percent of nursing home residents received antipsychotic medications that exceeded the daily recommended dosage. In Florida, the problem is reportedly equally severe. Furthermore, many residents receive these drugs when they don't even need them—a clear case of overmedication. In particular, doctors have prescribed drugs like Abilify, Haldol, and Seroquel to dementia patients even though these drugs are not approved for those conditions. Elderly loved ones may not know whether nursing home staff are giving them more medicine than necessary, or whether they are receiving antipsychotic medicines as a form of control. And you can bet nursing home staff probably won't quickly point out that fact, either. Instead, you'll need to look for classic signs of overmedication, such as:
- Constant fatigue
- Confusion or erratic changes in personality
- Reclusive behavior, even around family members
Nursing Home Injury—An Accident or Something More Dangerous?Nursing homes should protect and care for your loved ones at all times. However, overmedication can cause the following injuries:
- Another overmedicated resident begins to behave erratically, attacking and harming your loved one
- Your loved one becomes exhausted and falls down while walking or engaging in another activity
- A loved one becomes confused and wanders away, becoming injured in the process
- Staff or another resident injures your loved one when overmedication causes aggressive behavior
Your Legal RightsElderly residents should not suffer abuse through overmedication, and Florida law allows you to hold nursing homes accountable for the injuries that this practice causes. Depending on the circumstances, you might sue the nursing home for:
- Battery. If the nursing home intentionally gives inappropriate medication to your loved one, it may face legal liability for battery, which is an intentional tort.
- Negligent supervision. This occurs when the nursing home doesn't properly supervise its staff, so your loved one gets overmedicated because of the facility's carelessness.
- Negligent hiring. Some staff, including nurses, might overmedicate as a convenient way to control residents. Nursing homes should run background checks on all new hires to discover any histories of criminal activity or lawsuits. If a nursing home fails to perform the necessary checks, you may sue them for negligent hiring.
What Compensation Can You Receive?Your loved one might have suffered a serious injury as a result of overmedication, and financial compensation can help pay for:
- Medical expenses to treat the injuries
- Rehabilitation costs
- The expense of weaning your loved one off the medication
- Your loved one's pain and suffering
- Depending on the circumstances, punitive damages for particularly egregious, intentional conduct
Speak With a Nursing Home Attorney in Florida, TodayVulnerable family members deserve compassion and appropriate treatment, not antipsychotic drugs that put them in a stupor. If a nursing home injured your loved one through overmedication, call Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. We aggressively investigate all nursing home injuries and hold facilities accountable for the mistakes they make. Call us today for a free consultation at (727) 451-6900 or fill out our online contact form.