Overmedicating in Albuquerque Nursing Homes
Seasoned Albuquerque Attorneys in Nursing Homes Negligence Cases
As we age, we are more likely to develop health conditions that require long-term care and management. Older adults often need to manage multiple conditions with medications. If they are in a nursing home, they will depend on the staff to administer their treatment appropriately. Unfortunately, staff members sometimes over-medicate their patients, which is a form of abuse and neglect. At Parnall Law Firm, our nursing home negligence lawyers represent victims of neglect throughout the Albuquerque area. If you suspect that you or a loved one is a victim of over-medication at a licensed care facility, we can assist you.
Nursing home residents often need care for a number of medical conditions. Diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease are just some illnesses that may affect the elderly. When they are placed in a nursing home, residents are under the care of staff members who administer medications as part of their duties. Procedures are set in place to ensure that each resident receives the appropriate medication and dosage at the right time.
Some nursing home staff members, however, overmedicate the residents under their care. While some make mistakes while administering medications, others overmedicate intentionally to subdue a patient. They may give residents higher doses of a prescribed medication or even medications that were never prescribed. Signs of overmedication include:
- A substantial change in personality or awareness;
- Excessive lethargy or sedation;
- Confusion or hallucinations;
- Anxiety and agitation; and
- Physical changes, such as weight fluctuations or involuntary movements.
Various factors contribute to overmedication at nursing homes. Undertrained or poorly qualified staff, lax supervision, and improper procedures are among the factors that may be responsible.
Take Legal Action to Protect Your Rights
New Mexico law requires that each nursing home resident receive regular care from a medical professional. This ensures that a patient’s health is properly assessed, and that he or she receives the proper medications to manage his or her conditions. The state specifically limits the use of physical or chemical restraints to emergency situations or if a physician provides a direct and written order for their use. Otherwise, overmedicating a nursing home resident can be a form of medical negligence or abuse.
State law protects residents against nursing home abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The Resident Abuse and Neglect Act defines abuse as any intentional, knowing, or reckless act that can cause harm. It includes conduct that is medically inappropriate, such as unnecessary chemical restraints. Additionally, nursing homes are required to implement procedures to prevent abuse by their staff members, and they cannot hire individuals with a history of abuse toward residents.
When overmedication is intentional, a victim may hold the nursing home staff member liable for an intentional tort. The victim would have to prove that the staff member intentionally overmedicated and knew the dangerous consequences of his or her actions. A nursing home can also be held liable for its negligence in failing to adequately supervise the staff member, or in failing to properly review his or her background prior to making the hiring decision.
You or your relative may have suffered serious injuries as a result of overmedication. Damages in a nursing home neglect and abuse case can include compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, and punitive damages in some cases. If your relative died from overmedication, you can possibly recover damages by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. There is a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury and wrongful death claims in New Mexico (or two years concerning claims against state agencies, with a 90 day tort claim notice).
Hold Nursing Homes Accountable For Over-medicating Abuse By Enlisting An Albuquerque Lawyer
Bert Parnall and the injury attorneys at Parnall Law Firm have substantial experience representing Albuquerque victims of nursing home negligence. Our litigators offer tenacious and seasoned advocacy to help these individuals and their families pursue damages for their harm. We can discuss your rights and assess whether you have a viable claim against the facility and its staff member. For a confidential consultation, give us a call today at 505-985-5355. You can also reach us by completing our online form.