Medical and social services and law enforcement authorities throughout our nation are coming to terms with a dangerous epidemic of opiate and opioid abuse that has been affecting Americans of all ages and socioeconomic groups. According to a recently published news report, nursing homes and rehab facilities are not immune from this problem, and a failure to properly monitor both residents and visitors for signs of drug abuse is causing an increase in drug-related overdoses and deaths in several states.
The fact that many nursing home residents are highly medicated and isolated from the public view keeps the number of overdoses and drug-related deaths hidden. While nursing facilities cannot and should not be held legally responsible for every instance of drug abuse or overdose that occurs on site, the management and staff of these facilities do have a responsibility to monitor their residents and act reasonably to prevent illegal and dangerous drugs from being sold or illegally consumed by their residents.
Chicago Area Nursing Facility Fined Over $100,000 after Five Residents Suffer Overdoses Within Days
The report explains the case of one nursing facility in Illinois that had five residents hospitalized for heroin overdoses within only days, with two of those patients using the drugs and overdosing again within hours of their return to the facility. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Illinois Department of Health have fined this facility over $100,000 in total for failing to properly monitor and treat their residents with drug addictions.
Nursing home residents and patients come from all different backgrounds, and it may be impossible for a facility to prevent people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol from becoming residents. However, there is a responsibility to monitor those who may have problems with addiction and to ensure that any illegal or dangerous substances that are brought into the facility by a visitor or intruder are confined and disposed of without being distributed among residents who may not even know what they are being given.
Residents of Nursing Homes and Rehabilitation Facilities May Need Powerful Medications and Require Serious Oversight
By their very nature, nursing homes and residential physical rehabilitation facilities are often homes for people with serious health problems that result in physical or psychological pain that should be treated by medicines that have a high potential for abuse. The operators of these facilities are often paid substantial amounts of money by patients’ families and insurance companies with the expectation that a professional level of treatment and supervision will be offered. Unfortunately, many of these facilities are operated more for the benefit of the owners than the residents, and without a persistent and knowledgeable advocate on their side, many residents can be housed in circumstances that present a serious danger to their health.
Nursing facilities have a responsibility to identify residents or visitors who may be distributing drugs within the facilities and prevent the spread of dangerous chemicals and habits among the residents. In the event that a resident is injured or dies after overdosing on a medication that they were not supposed to be given or prescribed, the employees or operators of the nursing facility may be liable for nursing home abuse or neglect for failing to recognize and address the problem before it became a tragedy. People with loved ones in a facility who are concerned about possible drug abuse or other types of nursing home abuse occurring around their loved ones should not wait until it is too late to address the issue.
The Assistance of a Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you have a loved one who has been hurt or killed as a result of a drug overdose or another instance of neglect that should have been prevented by the staff of a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation from the parties who were charged with the responsibility to care for your loved one. The Maryland nursing home abuse attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC are serious about holding nursing homes to the high standards that they claim to uphold, and we will fight for justice and the safety of your loved ones. If you think abuse is occurring or already has occurred, contact our office and schedule a consultation to discuss your options for relief. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we represent clients in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the entire D.C. area in all nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Call us toll-free at 1-800-654-1949 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Big Changes Coming to Most Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published November 18, 2016.
New Rule Restricting Arbitration Clauses May Result in Better Care for the Elderly, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published November 7, 2016.