According to the National Institutes of Health, there has been a 4.1-fold increase in the number of opioid overdose deaths in the United States since 2002. In 2017, nearly 50,000 people died in opioid overdoses across the country.
Nursing Homes Are Not Immune to the Opioid Crisis
Nursing home residents are susceptible to significant risks associated with opioid medications. These risks include:
- Not being given the opioid medications prescribed by their doctors. Sometimes, nursing home residents are prescribed opioid medications. These medications are supposed to alleviate pain and improve the person’s quality of life. However, the medications only work if they are administered as prescribed. Nursing home residents may not get the medications they should get if, for example: (1) the nursing home staff is negligent and fails to provide medication according to the schedule set by the resident’s doctor; or (2) a nursing home staff member is dealing with her own opioid addiction and is taking the medication for her own use or to sell to others.
- Nursing home staff failing to recognize and address signs of opioid addiction or complications. Elderly patients with reduced renal function may retain significant amounts of the opioid medication in their systems for a longer period of time than other people would retain it. Respiratory distress or overdose may occur. Nursing home staff should be looking for these potential complications and get immediate medical help for any resident who is suffering from an opioid overdose or complication.
Additionally, the same dangers that come with providing other medications in a nursing home exist when those medications are opioids. For example, a resident may be given the wrong dose of a medication, may be given someone else’s medication, or may skip a dose of medication due to nursing home negligence.
Protect Your Fair Recovery After a Nursing Home Opioid Injury
If nursing home abuse or neglect caused your loved one’s opioid-related injury, your loved one may have the right to recover damages for her medical expenses, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages.
Contact our experienced nursing home injury lawyers and staff nurse today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and to learn more about your loved one’s rights.