Articles Tagged with drug abuse

rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207Many families with elderly loved ones in nursing homes in Oceanside know about the risks of overmedication, particularly in dementia patients. For example, an article in U.S. News & World Report discussed the continuing epidemic of overmedicating dementia patients with antipsychotic drugs, reporting that more than 179,000 patients receive drugs every week that are “not appropriate for their condition.” Many of these medications are prescribed because of their “sedating side effects,” used to keep seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia “easier for overworked nursing home staff,” according to the article. Yet it is not antipsychotic drugs that are on the minds of many Americans who are concerned about overmedication or misuses of prescription drugs. This category has become reserved for opioids and news of preventable overdoses. What role do opioids play in the nursing home setting?

According to a recent report in the Washington Post, seniors are also grappling with the opioid epidemic, and many older adults are at risk of serious injury as a result of using these drugs.

Opioid Abuse on the Rise Among Older Adults

799px-Alcohol_bottles_photographed_while_drunkHow broad is the term nursing home neglect? For instance, when a senior has a problem with drug or alcohol abuse and lives in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility in Southern California, does the facility have a duty to prevent the senior from obtaining potentially harmful substances? And if the facility knows about a history of drug or alcohol abuse and does not take precautions to limit a senior resident’s access to alcohol or prescription drugs, can the nursing home be responsible for injuries that occur? According to a fact sheet from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), it can be difficult to recognize signs and symptoms of substance abuse among older adults.

Should we be able to expect that facilities will look into signs and symptoms of substance abuse among elderly residents? And if a facility in San Diego already knows that one of its residents has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, what must it do differently in other to avoid allegations of nursing home negligence?

Difficulty Identifying Senior Residents with Substance Abuse Problems