Understanding Mismanagement of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Mediations in Oregon Nursing Homes
Placing a loved one in a nursing home can be an extremely painful process. You want to know your mother or father, for example, are in good hands. This is especially true if your loved one has Dementia or Alzheimer’s, because they cannot necessarily think for themselves. Medications for both Dementia and Alzheimer’s are often administered to patients, but are meant to be, only in accordance with the law and, generally, morally correct. Mistakes or mismanagement of dementia and Alzheimer’s medication can cause serious problems, permanent injuries, and other catastrophic harm including wrongful death. Speak with our Portland nursing home abuse attorney today to ensure your loved one was administered Dementia or Alzheimer’s medication correctly and to learn what your rights are if it was not.
What is Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, sometimes called Alzheimer’s Dementia, are extremely prevalent in the elder population in the United States, and in turn, nursing homes. It is a growing problem: in 2020, approximately 5.8 million of Americans 65 plus are living with Alzheimer’s Dementia. One in ten of those 65-years-old plus have Alzheimer’s Dementia. Further, two-thirds of those with it are women.
With respect to the older population in nursing homes, more than 50 percent of those nursing home residents have some form of cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia. More, 67 percent of dementia-related deaths take place in nursing homes.
Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect a multitude of skills and activities, that greatly interferes with daily life functioning. Specifically, this includes: loss of cognitive functioning, memory, language skills, visual perception, problem solving, self-management, and ability to focus. With these changes, personality changes ensue, as well as loss of temperament control. Depression and other mental illnesses can arise. Dementia develops in stages, from mild to severe, and dependence on others is more required as the dementia progresses.
Alzheimer’s Disease, on the other hand, is the worst stage of Dementia. It slowly destroys cognitive skills, such as memory and thinking skills. Ultimately, those with Alzheimer’s are completely unable to function on their own. Typically, symptoms appear in one’s mid-60s and progress slowly from there.
Medications Used to Treat Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Mismanagement of dementia and Alzheimer’s medications is serious because these drugs are powerful and mistakes can result in serious injury or harm. Due to nursing home malpractice or abuse. Despite the sometimes seemingly grim outlook on both Dementia and Alzheimer’s, there are some medications and alternative therapies that can help:
- Cholinesterase inhibitors, such as Donepezil, Aricept, Exelon, and Razadyne. These work to improve memory and judgment.
- Memantine regulates glutamate, to improve learning and memory
- Antidepressants to regulate mood and manage and improve depression, anxiety, and irritability
- Sleep medications
- Other medications to alleviate hallucinations, Parkinsonism
- Occupational therapy—can organize living area to simplify life and teach coping skills. Examples include mechanisms to prevent falls.
- Altering the environment—“baby proof” it, so that falls, accidents, and unsafe activities cannot occur or will be lessened. Taking away items, such as knives, car keys, etc.
- Simplifying their lives—set up a schedule and routine—this helps those with dementia because it leaves less to the imagination and also distracts them
The Problem With These Dementia and Alzheimer’s Medications
The Human Rights Watch has done extensive research on some of these medications—namely antipsychotics, which are often used on patients with some form of Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Many drugs used on those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s have serious side effects, such as extreme drowsiness and severe cognitive impairments. Many have reported that their family members look significantly worse while on these drugs, than before. There have also been studies asserting that antipsychotics increase the likelihood of death in these nursing home patients two-fold.
Finally, there are many issues surrounding informed consent. There have been studies that have found that residents did not provide informed consent, or any consent, before given antipsychotics. Not only psychotics, but other medications, have been controversial, in terms of whether they were properly or improperly administered to a nursing home patient. A nursing home patient’s rights must be protected and the medications they are dispensed can have dire consequences, if not properly administered. Contact our Portland nursing home abuse attorney today for an assessment of you or your loved one’s medication and medical history.
Learn How Our Portland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Love One’s Rights to Compensation
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect contact the Oregon Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take Nursing Home Abuse cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.