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Is Nursing Home Neglect to Blame for a Resident’s Opioid Addiction?

Posted on in Medication Errors


Chicago nursing home medication error LawyerThe opioid epidemic is one of the most significant challenges the U.S. is currently facing, and Americans of all ages and backgrounds are affected. Nursing home residents comprise one of the populations at risk of opioid addiction and overdose, especially in cases involving errors in the administration of medication. If you or your family member is suffering from the negative effects of opioids, it is important to understand whether the neglect of nursing home staff may be the root cause.

The Risks of Opioids for Nursing Home Residents

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, prescription opioids are responsible for a large portion of the opioid epidemic. Recent statistics show that 10 million people abuse prescription opioids on an annual basis and that prescription opioids are a factor in around 40 percent of opioid overdose deaths.

Nursing home residents can be especially at risk, as they are often prescribed opioids for pain management and other chronic conditions. A 2017 study published by the American Geriatrics Society found that around one in seven nursing home residents were prescribed a long-term course of opioids, while almost one in three residents were prescribed an opioid at some point. While prescription opioids can be a legitimate course of treatment in many cases, they can cause serious problems if something goes wrong.

Nursing Home Neglect and Medication Errors

When opioids are prescribed, it is crucial to determine the appropriate dosage according to the patient’s needs and to monitor the patient closely for adverse effects. There are a number of ways that nursing home staff could make a costly mistake regarding the administration of prescription opioids. For example, a staff member could mistakenly administer a greater dose than what was prescribed, which could have extremely dangerous and even fatal consequences. Other possible mistakes include administering prescription opioids to the incorrect patient or leaving prescription opioids in a place where a resident could find them and self-administer a dangerous dosage.

In cases of suspected neglect, it is important to work with an attorney to investigate the circumstances that led to the improper administration of the medication. If there is evidence that opioids were prescribed in unnecessary or unsafe dosages, or that a nursing home staff member is responsible for a resident’s improper use of opioids, it may be possible to pursue a claim for compensation for the costs of treatment and other damages. In the unfortunate event of an overdose, surviving family members may have a claim for wrongful death.

Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Neglect Attorney

At Schwartz Injury Law, we help our clients fight the harmful effects of nursing home neglect and hold the negligent parties accountable. If you or your loved one is suffering from the effects of an error in the administration of prescription opioids or other medication, we can help you take legal action. Contact our Cook County nursing home neglect lawyers at 312-535-4625 to schedule a free consultation today.



Sources:

https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html

https://www.fmda.org/Journal/Hunnicutt_et_al-2018-Journal_of_the_American_Geriatrics_Society%20(1).pdf

 

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