Nursing Home Opioid Over-Prescribing

September 24, 2020

There are two crises currently plaguing the nation that families are feeling on a very personal level. While COVID-19 and other national news are grabbing the majority of attention, the nursing home abuse and neglect crisis has fallen by the wayside. The other crisis that prior to 2020 was grabbing headlines almost weekly is the opioid addiction epidemic. for years, families and legal counsel have battled poor medicinal practices, and there’s a critical meeting point in nursing homes.

Elderly abuse can come hand-in-hand with opioid overprescribing. Opioid Addiction in the elderly is not unheard of, but often is overlooked or downplaying with the idea is that medical professionals are easing this person suffering. However, nursing homes should not be places where you go to have medical professionals “ease suffering.” If you or someone you know is a victim of this abuse, contact our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys right away.

Is There a Silent Crisis of Neglect in Nursing Homes?

Yes neglect in nursing homes is a very common situation that families often experience silently. They may not know where to go for help, how to report the abuse, or feel that this is how nursing homes work. The idea that most healthy elderly adults don’t want to go into a nursing home is often fueled by the perception of abuse and neglect.

That perception is not distorted, many nursing homes have malicious or unintentionally neglectful staff. That’s fast can range from janitors to doctors, anyone who has interaction with the elderly can cause neglect or inflict abuse.

Elderly and the Opioid Crisis

In 2018 a handful of Physicians and doctors gathered together with the American geriatrics Society to look at long-term opioid use in nursing home facilities. They determined that at least in New Hampshire one in seven and residents were on a long-term prescription opioids. The estimate on a larger scale is that about 32% of nursing home residents have an opioid prescriptions and that non-pharmacological or alternative pain management was not considered.

during that study, they identified that persistent pain was present in 15% of the residents who had an opioid prescription, and intermittent pain was present in 16% of residents who carried an opioid prescription. Almost a quarter of these residents who had an opioid prescription through oral formulation received the highly addictive drug Fentanyl.

Who’s to Blame for Long-Term Care and Long-Term Dependence?

Substance use disorder among the elderly is not just overlooked, but often alright shied away from. There are various arguments that these people deserve peace or is that the medication can help improve bodily function, but often those aren’t the reasons for the prescription or the dependence.

For chronic pain associated with aging is often the start of long-term opioid addiction. Now, this correlation and start much earlier in a person’s life before they reach a nursing home facility. However, many nursing homes will initiate an opioid prescription when they suspect that the patient is in chronic or persistent pain. For the elderly, there might not be reasonable Alternatives such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen that could pose serious health problems or might negatively interfere with other prescriptions.

The people carrying the greatest burden of blame are the medical professionals. Even if an elderly person and there’s a nursing home facility with pre-existing substance use those medical professionals are expected to upkeep responsible prescribing habits.

Who is Paying for This Misuse of Opioid Prescriptions?

Although many nursing home facilities are for-profit operations, it is common that even in for-profit facilities patients have Medicare D coverage. Medicare D covers prescription drug costs and is available through Medicare, and private plans. Often people over a certain age can access Medicare Part D even if they don’t qualify for other types of Medicare.

Is This Abuse? Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Connell Law

For families who have seen abuse, and possibly intentional medical neglect through opioid use, contact Connell Law. Right here in Columbia South Carolina we see abuse on an almost daily level. Nursing home neglect and abuse is often facilitated through medical mistreatment. The recommendation of opioid use or overused among the elderly is extremely common as it can make patients easier to handle or outright unresponsive.

Contacting Connell Law could be your families first step toward handling the abuse situation, but it’s the elderly person you love has experienced addiction they may have a long road ahead of them. Connell Law looks at all variety of nursing home abuse and neglect. Contacting our offices and help you evaluate your legal options and what action you could take against the facility and its employees.