Virginia Nursing Home Lawyer | Neglect Abuse Complaint Attorney

It seems National Public Radio is digging in to America’s long term care industry and examining issues of patient safety and care. Last week they did a feature on falls. Yesterday this great feature aired about the use of anti-psychotic medications in elderly patients. Medications that the FDA warns should not be used in such patients, but are being prescribed all the time. This is sadly an issue we have known about and written about for years. We are however, grateful for a national spotlight placed on patient care. A colleague of mine asked me to send him a list of these medications, so that he could help education his clients and client families about this issue, and the dangers associated with chemical restraints and off label use of anti-psychotic medications. Such a list can be found in a recent publication (2010) available on the NIH’s website.

While it is not the job of families to know what every drug does and can do, it is our job to be advocates for our loved ones and most vulnerable populations. Ask for your loved ones medication list today. See any of the below listed meds? Ask to speak to the doctor and share your concern about their use.

 ABILIFY

SEROQUEL / SEROQUEL XR

SAPHRIS

FANAPT

ZYPREXA

INVEGA

RISPERDAL

CLOZAPINE

 

Trade name Active ingredient(s) Boxed warnings
Abilify® Aripiprazole WARNINGS: INCREASED MORTALITY IN ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA-RELATED PSYCHOSIS and SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of seventeen placebo- controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared with a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (eg, heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (eg, pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. ABILIFY (aripiprazole) is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS (5.1)]. Antidepressants increased the risk compared with placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of adjunctive ABILIFY or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared with placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared with placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. ABILIFY is not approved for use in pediatric patients with depression [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS (5.2)].
Seroquel®, Seroquel XR® Quetiapine
Saphris® Asenapine WARNING: INCREASED MORTALITY IN ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA-RELATED PSYCHOSIS Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of 17 placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in the drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times that seen in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared with a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. These drugs are not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Fanapt® Iloperidone
Zyprexa®, Zyprexa Zydis® Olanzapine
Invega®, Invega® Sustenna™ Paliperidone
Risperdal®, Risperdal M- Tab® Risperidone
Geodon® Ziprasidone
Clozaril®; Fazaclo ODT® Clozapine 1. AGRANULOCYTOSIS Because of a significant risk of agranulocytosis, a potentially life-threatening adverse event, Clozaril® (clozapine) should be reserved for use in (1) the treatment of severely ill patients with schizophrenia who fail to show an acceptable response to adequate courses of standard antipsychotic drug treatment, or (2) for reducing the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are judged to be at risk of reexperiencing suicidal behavior. Patients being treated with clozapine must have a baseline white blood cell (WBC) count and absolute neutrophil count (ANC) before initiation of treatment as well as regular WBC counts and ANCs during treatment and for at least 4 weeks after discontinuation of treatment (see warnings). Clozapine is available only through a distribution system that ensures monitoring of WBC count and ANC according to the schedule described below prior to delivery of the next supply of medication (see warnings).

2. SEIZURES Seizures have been associated with the use of clozapine. Dose appears to be an important predictor of seizure, with a greater likelihood at higher clozapine doses. Caution should be used when administering clozapine to patients having a history of seizures or other predisposing factors. Patients should be advised not to engage in an activity where sudden loss of consciousness could cause serious risk to themselves or others (see warnings).

3. MYOCARDITIS Analysis of postmarketing safety databases suggest that clozapine is associated with an increased risk of fatal myocarditis, especially during, but not limited to, the first month of therapy. In patients in whom myocarditis is suspected, clozapine treatment should be promptly discontinued ( see warnings). 4. Other adverse cardiovascular and respiratory effects orthostatic hypotension, with or without syncope, can occur with clozapine treatment. Rarely, collapse can be profound and be accompanied by respiratory and/or cardiac arrest. Orthostatic hypotension is more likely to occur during initial titration in association with rapid dose escalation. In patients who have had even a brief interval off clozapine, i.e., 2 or more days since the last dose, treatment should be started with 12.5mg once or twice daily. (see warnings and dosage and administration). Since collapse, respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest during initial treatment has occurred in patients who were being administered benzodiazepines or other psychotropic drugs, caution is advised when clozapine is initiated in patients taking a benzodiazepine or any other psychotropic drug. (See warnings).

5. Increased mortality in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of seventeen placebo- controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in the drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared with a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. Clozapril® (clozapine) is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis (see warnings).

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For years, we have represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect victims throughout Western Virginia. Almost always, if the case settles, we are bound by a confidentiality clause that prohibits us to discuss the case, the outcome, etc.

In yesterday’s Roanoke Times, a local Roanoke nursing home was featured, including our past cases.

We have represented families against Virginia nursing homes, when:

  • Staff overmedicates patients
  • Falls are allowed to happen
  • Interventions ordered by doctors, are not put in place to protect patients
  • Wrong medication is given to patients
  • Bed sores / pressure ulcers result
  • Fecal impaction occurs
  • Residents become septic
  • Residents become dehydrated, or malnourished
  • Resident on resident attacks
  • Residents are not properly assessed
  • Transfers occurs without assistance

The list goes on.

We hope you and your family never need our services. But if you have questions about our firm, or the cases we accept representing families against local nursing homes, do not hesitate to call or email me: lellerman@frithlawfirm.com / 540-985-0098.

 

 

 

 

Take 5 minutes to listen to this very tragic but accurate report done by National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/12/01/366347840/broken-hips-preventing-a-fall-can-save-your-life.

The sad fact is that falls can cause permanent injuries and death in elderly patients.

In the last few years, we have represented MANY Virginia families in fall cases.

  • Fall causes hip fracture, elderly man v. local rehab hospital
  • Fall causes hematoma, leads to death, elderly female v. local nursing home
  • Fall causes neck fracture, and death, elderly female v. local nursing home
  • Fall causes hip fracture, elderly female v. local nursing home

Most falls are preventable. Nursing homes should be doing assessments on their patients upon admission to determine if they are fall risks and what precautions should be put in place to prevent serious injury.

Sadly, thousands of Virginians will lose their lives and or suffer permanent injury because of a preventable fall this year.

To investigate a fall suffered by your loved one at a Virginia nursing home or assisted living facility, call me today – Lauren Ellerman 540-985-0098 or email lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.

 

 

 

 
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