Published on:

Are Nursing Homes Just Self Serve Drug Counters For Employees?

The case of a nurse intentionally giving a lethal doses of morphine to a resident at a Chicago- area nursing home raises many concerns surrounding patient care, but one that jumps out at me is: who is looking after the medication stash in nursing homes?  Are most facilities so short staffed that no person is assigned to monitor the quantity of medications distributed?  Are potentially lethal medications treated with no more controls than a glass of water?iStock_000005148861XSmall

I recently came across this article regarding drug abuse amongst medical professionals in South Carolina and it seems as though many nursing home run a self-serve medication administration plan for their employees.  How widespread is prescription drug abuse (this includes stealing medication):

  • More than 1 our of 100 nurses has been disciplined for a drug-related offense- most involve stealing medications
  • 1.3% of licensed practical nursed (LPN) has faced discipline for: stealing drugs, forging prescriptions, failing drug screens and showing up to work impaired
  • The percentage of medical professionals addicted to drugs is higher than the general population
  • According to the DEA, 7 million American abuse prescription drugs
  • the most commonly abused drugs amongst the nurses involved in disciplinary cases are: morphine, Demerol and hydrocodone
  • nurses also tended to abuse pain killers such as: Dillaudid, Stadol, OxyContin, phenobarital and Duragesic patches

Obviously, an impaired nurse puts patient care in jeopardy because the nurse may not be able to tend to the patient’s needs.  Also, an impaired nurse may be so desperate for his or her fix that they withhold necessary medication from the patient and use it for themselves.  There are reported instances where nurses have: removed Duragesic patches for nursing home residents, replace Oxycontin with similarly colored pills and replaced liquid medications with water.

While I sympathize with the nurses who may have addition problems, the real victims here are the nursing home residents who have medication withheld or improperly administered.  Nursing home owners must take responsibility for controlling access to highly addictive medications and implement programs to assure residents are receiving not only the proper dosages of medications, but also that there is real medication administered in the first place.

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.