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Nursing homes may medicate residents inappropriately

Nursing homes are meant to be places where elderly residents can feel safe and cared for while their families and friends are free from worry. This is why potential residents of assisted-living facilities and their loved ones must do proper research and find the nursing home that is right for them.

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes is rare among the professional clinicians and caretakers who work in them, but it happens among frustrated and negligent workers enough that attention must be paid to it. Families and visitors are cautioned to look for unexplained emotional changes, physical problems and other possible indicators of abuse or neglect.

Medication is one possible cause of abuse that is receiving new attention due to a report by a human rights watchdog organization. The report estimates that more than 175,000 nursing home residents in the United States are received the wrong medication or unnecessary treatments for dementia.

This should be of special concern in Florida, home to the lion's share of the nation's nursing homes. The cause of overmedication or wrong medication is generally to make emotionally and mentally disturbed patients easier to manage because of sedating effects of what the report calls "chemical restraints."

Nursing home staff may "interpret urgent expressions of pain or distress as disruptive behavior that needs to be suppressed," according to one of the authors of the report.

Victims of this type and other types of nursing home abuse are entitled to sue for financial damages and other types of legal restitution. An attorney may help residents and their families sort out options involving settlements, cease-and-desist orders and other forms of legal relief.

Source: The Guardian, "US care homes over-prescribing drugs for residents with dementia, report finds," Jessica Glenza, Feb. 05, 2018

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