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Is your aging loved one getting the right medication?

When you placed your elderly mother or father in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, you assumed they would receive exemplary care. Unfortunately, though, nursing home abuse is not exactly uncommon in the Land of Enchantment. By watching for the signs of nursing home abuse, you can better advocate for your aging loved one’s overall health. 

One sign of nursing home abuse is medication irregularities. According to a recent study, as many as 27% of nursing home patients had some type of error with their medication. While there are a few reasons medication errors occur, you want to be certain your aging loved one receives the correct medication in the prescribed dosage at the right time. Here are some common ways nursing home professionals administer medication incorrectly. 

1. Nurses split, crush or dissolve medication 

If your elderly loved one has problems swallowing, nurses may split, crush or dissolve the medication. While this procedure is fine with some types of medication, it can cause problems with others. 

2. Nurses provide insufficient fluids or food 

For some prescription and over-the-counter medications to be effective, the patient must drink fluids or eat food. If staff at the nursing home does not provide these, your aging loved one may not receive the full benefit of the medication. 

3. Nurses give medication that interacts with other substances 

Before prescribing medication, doctors typically check to see if it interacts with other prescription drugs. Still, prescription medication may interact with allergy medication, antacids and other everyday substances. If nursing home professionals do not check for these interactions, prescription medication may do more harm than good. 

4. Nurses misuse inhalers, eye droppers and other equipment 

Not all medication comes in pill form. If your aging loved one uses an inhaler, eye dropper or other equipment, nurses must know how to use devices correctly. If they fail to do so, your aging loved one may receive an incorrect dose.  

You want your elderly parent to receive the best possible care. While you may not have expert knowledge about medication, you likely need to pay close attention to the medication your loved one receives. By understanding why medication errors typically occur, you can better monitor your aging relative’s care.

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