People who live in nursing homes in the Pittsburgh area frequently rely on the facility's staff to keep track of their medications. Depending on the medications and the residents' level of health and independence, they may need staff members to administrate the drugs as well. This gives nurse's aides and other nursing home employees a serious responsibility to make sure that each resident is getting the right medications at the right time and at the right dosage level.
With such powerful drugs, the consequences of mishandling a resident's medications can be fatal. That is apparently what happened at a nursing home in another state that recently was hit with a $100,000 fine in connection with the death of a resident in 2011. The man received a severe overdose of a blood thinner, which contributed to his death.
He was living at the facility after suffering a stroke a year before. In May 2011, he fell out of his wheelchair and hit his head. Despite the potential of a brain injury, nursing home staff did not take him to the hospital until his daughter insisted four days later. By that time, the man was suffering from internal bleeding, severely low blood pressure and organ failure compounded by the blood thinner Coumadin in his system that was 18 times above normal levels. The man died about a week later.
The incident triggered an investigation of the nursing home's conduct by the state's public health department. On March 22, the agency concluded that the facility overmedicated the resident and issued its strongest possible citation against the home and issued a $100,000 fine.
Source: Sacramento Bee, "Lincoln nursing home cited, fined for overmedicating patient," Anita Creamer, March 24, 2013
· Please visit our Pittsburgh nursing home neglect page for information about laws related to nursing home abuse and neglect.