Is Your Loved One Being Overmedicated in a Wisconsin Nursing Home?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on October 24, 2019 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on April 25, 2024

elderly patient taking pillsIn many nursing homes, there are not enough employees to provide the proper level of care and attention that many of the elderly need. This has resulted in caregivers overmedicating patients, which puts residents at risk for other serious complications, injuries and even death.

If you suspect that your loved one is being overmedicated, we encourage you to contact one of our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at PKSD Law for a free consultation. We may be able to help you pursue financial compensation for your loved ones damages and hold the perpetrators accountable for their negligence.

What Are the Signs of Being Overmedicated?

Catching overmedication in a nursing home resident is challenging. Many patients may not understand what has happened, and others may be unable or unwilling to talk about it. If you are able to visit your loved one regularly, you may be in a better position to observe unusual changes or warning signs of overmedication, including:

  • Atypical behavior changes
  • Unexplained and ongoing lethargy or grogginess
  • Becoming unusually withdrawn
  • Falling more frequently
  • Developing unexplained medical conditions
  • Appearing unusually confused or not making sense when speaking

Pain relievers, sedatives and psychoactive drugs are among the most common drugs nursing homes use, because they are more effective in restraining or controlling a patient’s behavior.

However, because these drugs may not be prescribed by the attending physician, there is an increased risk of side effects that can result in serious injuries, including:

  • Dizziness accompanied by falls
  • Seizures
  • Accidental overdose or drug interactions
  • Fractures or head-injuries resulting from being overmedicated
  • Death

What Steps Can I Take If I Suspect Accidental or Purposeful Medication Errors?

It is important that you immediately express your concerns regarding overmedication to nursing home staff. Ask to speak to the nursing station supervisor and inquire about any changes to your loved one’s condition and the medication he or she has been prescribed.

Ask to be alerted to any medication changes before they occur as part of your loved one’s plan of care. Maintain a record of these conversations and write down the following information:

  • The person you spoke to
  • The reason for the conversation
  • The date of the conversation
  • Specific details about medication changes or dosages

If your loved one has received medication that is not noted in his or her medical record, it should be reported immediately.

It is also helpful to speak to the director of nursing and the nursing home doctor about your loved one’s condition. Remember that some changes you observe in your loved one may be due to an infection, progression of an existing problem, or a new medical condition.

Try to gather complete details about your loved one’s current health status to rule out underlying causes of the changes, including:

  • Fluid intake
  • Food consumption
  • Changes in mobility
  • Changes in bathroom routine
  • Falls
  • Digestive issues

If you feel that the nursing home administrators or physicians are not responding to your concerns, or you are worried for your loved one’s safety, you may contact Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services.

When Should I Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney?

If you have reported your concerns and there does not seem to be any reaction by the nursing home or an improvement in your loved one’s condition, it may be time to contact a nursing home abuse attorney.

At PKSD Law, our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers can review the details of your situation in a free and confidential consultation to help you determine your legal options. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs because we operate on contingency. We do not get paid unless we achieve a successful outcome for you and your loved one.

Call us today at 414-333-3333 to get started.

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