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How to minimize medication problems at the nursing home

Medication irregularities are not exactly uncommon in nursing homes. When professionals administer medication correctly, your loved one’s quality of life likely improves. Unfortunately, though, you cannot always trust nurses to behave responsibly. In fact, some health care professionals rely heavily on sedatives to control patients. 

While placing an aging parent in a nursing home can be a difficult decision, you want to be sure your parent receives proper care. Put simply, medication irregularities are often evidence of nursing home neglect or abuse. Here are four ways to minimize medication problems at the nursing home. 

1. Know what is on the list 

Medication names can be confusing. Still, you should try to understand everything that is on your loved one’s medication list. In doing so, find out what each medication does. Also, understand the difference between regular and as-needed medication. Finally, ask about what over-the-counter drugs are available to your mother or father. 

2. Understand prescription medication 

Doctors, pharmacists and nurses understand how to prevent drug interactions. While you do not have to be a pharmaceutical expert to ensure your loved one receives adequate care, you should understand why your mother or father takes each prescription. You may also want to ask about drug interactions every time your loved one receives a new prescription. 

3. Monitor your loved one’s behavior 

As you probably know, both prescription and over-the-counter medication can alter the way your mother or father behaves. To determine if your parent is receiving the proper medication to treat his or her medical conditions, pay attention to changes in behavior. If you notice any, you may want to ask a doctor to prescribe a different medication. 

4. Ask questions 

Perhaps the best thing you can do to ensure your aging mother or father receives the correct medication in the right dosages is to ask questions. When you visit your loved one, talk to the nurses and support staff at the nursing home. By understanding the facility’s approach to medication, you can better advocate for your parent’s best interests. 

You do not have to let your parent suffer the consequences of medication misadministration. By understanding how to ensure your loved one receives only the medication he or she needs, you may be able to avoid the long-term damage that medication irregularities often cause.

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