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Did federal surveyors influence medication changes?

February 27, 2012
by Kathleen Mears
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Federal surveyors were here in December, the first time I had seen them survey. A few weeks after the survey, I discovered that many of my medications were discontinued—some right before my hospitalization at the end of the year.

When I did not get all of my regular meds in the hospital, I thought those doctors had something to do with it, and I was given no explanation why. Only then was I told upon my return to the nursing home that my physician would have to reorder the missing meds.

I realize that resident medications have to be reevaluated and either discontinued or reordered periodically, because my doctor did the same thing when I lived in the community years ago.

The last time my physician visited, I asked if he would reorder my missing meds and he said he would. But he did not have my chart or an order sheet. Before he left, he said, "Just have the nurses give me a call if you need anything." He probably thought he was being accommodating, but I felt he should have reordered the meds or explained why he would not reorder them.

After almost a month, I discovered I still had no order for ibuprofen. On a recent day when I really needed it, I could not take it.

Ibuprofen has since been reinstated but there are others that have not. Though we have care conferences at the nursing home, medications are not always discussed. I feel discussing medications, blood work and other tests are very important to residents like me during conferences. I got used to that regimen at another facility where I lived.

Charge nurses are very busy and often do not have time to discuss meds with us residents. Usually, if a resident voices a medication concern, the charge nurse gives them some information and directs them to the ADON or DON, but this is little consolation on a weekend when neither nurse is here.

I now wonder if the federal surveyors suggested that some resident meds be evaluated and discontinued. In the ’90s, a state directive required the dosage of one of my psychotropic drugs to be lowered. After several weeks, the lower dose caused me to have severe adverse side effects.

At the time I was aghast the state could make such a directive. I feel residents who are able should be given notification and allowed to give input on any medicine changes—no matter who suggests them.

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Comments

Amen sister. Government should not be dictating healthcare.

Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...