Decreasing the Risk of Antibiotics’ Misuse in Maricopa Skilled Nursing Facilities

Maricopa has 10 skilled nursing facilities located near its city. As the older adult population in the United States continues to rise, so does the elderly patient population in nursing homes. Over recent years, more concern has been focused on the need to enhance quality of care that United States nursing homes provide to their residents. The Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer, Ben Yeroushalmi, wants the people of Maricopa to be aware that older adult patients in nursing homes are extremely vulnerable to infections and diseases when nursing home staff provides inadequate care. The incidence of pressure ulcers (also known as bedsores) and incontinence issues are significant indicators of poor quality of care in nursing homes due to their close association with quality of life, the likelihood of hospitalization and additional comorbidities, and the increased risk of mortality. Substantial evidence has shown that with high quality nursing care, as well as high quality pharmacological and behavioral therapies, these types of illnesses are preventable.

Medication errors are one of the many dangers that patients in skilled nursing facilities are vulnerable to. According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nursing home staff prescribe antibiotics incorrectly to their residents nearly 75% of the times. The reasons can vary—patients may be prescribed the wrong medication, the wrong dosage, the incorrect duration, or simply prescribed unnecessarily. However, the consequences are extremely serious. Antibiotics that are used inappropriately can lose their effectiveness against the illnesses they were created to treat. This phenomenon has already occurred for some antibiotics. Additionally, there are antibiotics that are actually the culprits of the development of life-threatening illnesses.

Moreover, the use of antibiotics can encourage allergic reactions and negatively interact with other drugs a nursing home patient is taking. According to researcher and hospital epidemiologist Christopher Crnich, nursing home staff do not always fully consider these risks when prescribing these drugs to their patients. “Bad antibiotic effects don’t come until weeks or months later, and frankly all we [prescribers] see is the upside when we’re dealing with a sick mom or dad,” says Crnich.

In the year 2015, the CDC called for all nursing homes in the United States, including those in Maricopa, to improve their medication management and prescribing practices immediately, to prevent hard-to-treat infections that are increasing in number and antibiotic resistant from harming over 4 million American nursing home residents.

Although everyone is at risk of antibiotic-resistant illnesses, older adults patients in nursing homes are especially vulnerable due to age-related biological factors that cause their bodies to be unable to fight infections as well. The CDC reported that there are 18 antibiotic-resistant viral infections that most frequently sicken over 2 million Americans per year and kill more than 23,000.

It is important that nursing home staff take extreme caution when prescribing and managing medications for their patients. Medication errors in these long-term care facilities still occur far too often. Maricopa nursing home staff must be properly educated and trained when directly handling the medications of their patients. If you or someone you love has been a victim of abuse or neglect due to inappropriate medication management by nursing home staff, contact the elder abuse lawyer Ben Yeroushalmi today.

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