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Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Rhode Island

Decof, Mega & Quinn, P.C. | Helping Families and Victims for Over 40 Years

Making the choice to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home isn’t easy. You worry about whether they’ll receive proper care and hope they will be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. While it’s true that nursing homes are heavily regulated at both the federal and state levels, the unfortunate reality is that many are understaffed, and many have an undertrained and overworked staff.

In fact, The National Council on Aging reports 10% of adults aged 65 and over experience some form of elder abuse every year. Harm suffered may be in the form of medical neglect, neglect of basic care, neglect of personal hygiene, and neglect of social/emotional needs. Any of these can result in tragedy ranging from bedsores to broken bones, even wrongful death.

Innocent victims suffer daily from nursing home abuse and neglect, but our nursing home abuse attorneys in Rhode Island are here to help you seek justice and the financial compensation you deserve. We are here to help you gather compelling evidence to get an optimal outcome in your case.

If you or your loved one was victimized by negligence or abuse at a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries, medical costs, and pain and suffering sustained. Contact us at (401) 200-4059 for a free, confidential consultation.

What Does Nursing Home Abuse Involve?

Nursing home abuse takes many forms, and may involve physical, sexual or psychological abuse. It can even include financial extortion, which may have lasting repercussions for your entire family. If you notice unexplained injuries or sudden behavioral changes, it could be an indication of abuse. Likewise, make note of any unsanitary and/or unsafe conditions in the nursing home itself, as this can spell trouble.

The basic laws for nursing homes include the following:

  • Staff must protect the physical, mental, and medical needs of residents.
  • The residents’ medical conditions should not get worse unless it is unavoidable.
  • Physical, mental, and emotional well-being should be maintained or improved.
  • If they are able to, residents should be able to choose their own care and therapies.

Prescription Abuse in Nursing Homes

With the increasing elderly population, incidences of prescription errors are on the rise. One study suggests that approximately one in five prescriptions given to elderly persons are unnecessary and may lead to high risk adverse events in nursing homes. This inappropriate medication prescription has been defined as any prescription that introduces a “significant risk of an adverse drug related event when there is evidence for an equally or more effective alternative medication” (Opondo, et al, 2012). If there is an inappropriate medication prescription, or if there are adverse risks that were not properly considered or disclosed by a doctor, the patient may have a medical malpractice claim.

One recent example of inappropriate medication prescriptions to the elderly involves the pharmaceutical drug, Nuedexta. According to a recent CNN report, geriatric physicians have been increasingly prescribing this unnecessary and unsafe drug to nursing home residents suffering from dementia and other neurological disorders. Nuedexta was only approved by the FDA to treat a rare disorder, Pseudobulbar Affect or PBA, which is commonly referred to as emotional incontinence. PBA is oftentimes diagnosed along with ALS or multiple sclerosis, but CNN reports that it is being increasingly diagnosed in other patients who do not exhibit the classic signs of the disorder. The report opines that much of the increased prescription activity may be due to financial incentives provided to prescribing doctors from the drug’s manufacturer, Avenir Pharmaceuticals.

What is most surprising is that the drug is being increasingly prescribed to elderly patients even though it has not been extensively studied within that population. In fact, the only study performed actually shows that those individuals on Nuedexta “experienced falls at more than twice the rate as those on a placebo.”

Hopefully, the CNN report will raise awareness of the significant dangers associated with the inappropriate prescription of pharmaceutical drugs and lead to the decline of the prevalence of this activity. However, it is also important to take steps to protect your elderly loved ones from this potential medical malpractice. To do so, you should:

  • Monitor all medications prescribed;
  • Ask why each new medication is being prescribed;
  • Ask if there are any possible alternatives to the new prescription(s);
  • Ask if there is the possibility of adverse interactions between medications prescribed;
  • Obtain a second opinion if you feel uncomfortable with any answers you receive

How Our Law Firm Can Help

Looking for legal help in a nursing home abuse case? Decof, Mega & Quinn, P.C. has recovered over $1 billion for personal injury victims in Rhode Island. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, it means there are no upfront costs associated with hiring our lawyers to represent you. You’ll only pay a fee if we win your case.

If you or your loved one was the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, consult with our qualified personal injury attorneys for skilled legal representation. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation at (401) 200-4059 today. 

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