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  • Writer's picturePam

Make Sure You Are Informed When A Parent In A Senior Living Facility Is Prescribed A New Medication

If you have a loved one in a senior living facility and you are the main family member, power of attorney or caregiver for that person then you should make sure that you have the appropriate legal documents in place. It is crucial that you be kept informed on any changes to medications or medical care. Many facilities have onsite doctors who see patients living there and will often ask residents if they would like to see them for any concerns. If you are no longer seeing your previous doctor and have chosen to use an onsite or house doctor working with the facility then you should make sure that you meet with that provider to discuss current and future care.

It is very common to have house doctors start taking care of a patient in a facility that already has considerable health conditions and takes many medications. If the new doctor is not extremely familiar with all of this information they can often prescribe medications, or tests that can sometimes cause serious medical issues. Especially if they do not discuss it with the main family since many seniors can often leave out important information.

My mom was prescribed a medication for a complaint of jaw pain. She had many pre-existing medical issues including a current heart issue. I was never told by the doctor or the nursing staff that a new medication had been prescribed. It turned out to be a serious drug that is used for other medical issues besides jaw pain and she had a horrible reaction to the medication. Nobody realized it until I came to see her and she was completely incoherent. As her power of attorney and daughter I should have been informed by both the facility and the doctor who saw her that this medication was being given. My mom ended up being taken to the hospital for being overmedicated and having a reaction to the medication.

If the doctor or nurse had talked with me first I would have been able to explain that some pain medications can be difficult for her, that jaw pain was not severe enough to need that type of medication and I would have also been able to monitor her closer and so would the nursing staff. I was also unsure why a women complaining of jaw pain wasn't first given Motrin or something basic when this was the first complaint to this physician about jaw pain.

Make sure you speak up and make it clear that you want to be informed immediately of any changes to medications or care by anyone but especially any new physicians or caregivers that are seeing seniors in a facility.

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