Each Chicago nursing home lawyer at our firm appreciates that the vast majority of seniors, when given a choice, would not chose to live in a nursing home to begin with. Most seniors would much prefer to “age in place” and receive the care that they need while remaining in former living environments-oftentimes the homes in which they’ve spent their entire adult lives. Unfortunately, there are a variety of reasons why that is not possible for many area elderly community members. At times the close monitoring needed is simply impossible without care in another location. In other instances, the financial resources do not exist for the senior to receive needed care unless they enter a long-term care facility.
However, technology changes and a push for government programs to help more seniors stay at home are making it slowly more possible for many elderly individuals to avoid nursing homes. This is good news for those of us who work in Illinois nursing home neglect situations and know of the often systematic mistreatment of many of these vulnerable individuals. Yet, the push toward home care comes with its own unique concerns that must be addressed. Steps must be put into place to ensure that these home care patients are not exposed to unnecessary risks that may have adverse effects on their well being.
Medication is one example. According to a new story in Health Day, nearly 40 percent of seniors who take a prescription drug from a home health agency take at least one medication that is either unsafe or ineffective. This figure is particularly high on its face, but the problem is made even more apparent when it is compared with prescription for seniors given at a medical office. Home health prescriptions problem rates are three times higher than those given in the office. This new information was obtained by medical researchers in a newly released study.
The new data also reveals that the average individual over 65 years old takes roughly eleven medications. This large amount is part of the reason that there are more errors than necessary, opening the door to dangerous or ineffective use. For those patients taking even more medication than the average-fifteen or more each day-the chance for error was even higher. These individuals have a five to six times greater likelihood of using an ineffective or unsafe drug. Roughly twenty one percent of seniors fell into this group of fifteen or more prescriptions daily. This information was obtained from an analysis of more than 3,100 home health care patients in the National Home and Hospice Care Survey.
The Chicago injury lawyers at our firm understand that financial incentives mar the care of seniors in many setting. Nursing home neglect is often a product of unwise cost-cutting measures that sacrifice resident care in order to maximize profits. Similarly, even when home care is provided there are opportunities for residents to be used as a way to make money without a supreme focus on ensuring that the care they receive is absolutely necessary and safe.
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