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Staff theft of medication can leave nursing home residents in terrible pain

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2022 | Nursing Home Abuse

Most residents of Independence-area assisted-living facilities have at least one chronic health problem that requires medication. It is very common for a senior at a nursing home to take multiple pills daily and rely on the facility’s staff to make sure they take them at the right time and appropriate dose.

So when a nurse or other staff member betrays that trust and steals medication, residents’ comfort, health and life can be jeopardized. Without their medicine, a resident can suffer severe pain and discomfort, and their health can quickly deteriorate. They may also be unable to communicate to let family or friends know what is happening. It may be weeks or months before loved ones suspect something.

Convicted of stealing pain medication from residents

In a recent example from Iowa, a man with Missouri connections has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for stealing narcotics from nursing home residents. The man worked as a nurse at two facilities despite a lengthy criminal record. In one incident, the nurse took an oxycodone pill that was supposed to go to a 95-year-old man with chronic pain and dementia.

The nurse’s criminal record includes convictions for marijuana possession, receiving stolen property and attempted escape from custody. He spent time in prison in Missouri for violating the terms of his parole. Besides this, he was investigated three times by the Iowa Board of Nursing, ultimately getting his license suspended in 2019, the year he stole medication from nursing home residents. It is not clear whether the facilities where he worked conducted background checks before hiring him.

Hiring dangerous staff is negligence

Nursing homes have a legal responsibility to hire staff that are trained, competent and caring. Hiring a criminal and thief who puts residents in danger could be a sign of serious negligence by management.