Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys have been following the new measures by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have reduced drug abuse among nursing home patients. The DEA has begun to crack down on pharmacists and nurses who dispense drugs without a doctor's written prescription. The practice, which was wide-spread until recently, has been criticized for allowing prescription abuse and overmedication among nursing home residents.
The new measures, although effective in reducing abuse, haven't come without a price. Many residents now find that they have to wait hours, or even days, without pain medication. The New York Times reported the case of one 75 year-old man who had to endure excruciating pain for an entire weekend before he could receive his pain medication that helps him deal with the numerous surgical pins in his body.
Critics claim that the nursing home patients shouldn't have to suffer under these new regulations. Instead, they say, nursing homes should have more doctors on premise or on staff, ready to dispense or write a prescription for these drugs. The diminishing presence of doctors in nursing homes has been a problem now for decades and these new measures highlight their absence. Now, many nurses have to contact pharmacists and the pharmacists contact the doctors. Waiting for a response can often take hours or days. Without doctors present to prescribe these drugs, the patients now have to deal with the bureaucracy of the system.
The New York Times, A Battle Against Prescription Drugs Causes Pain, Oct. 2, 2010