A commonly-prescribed medication in nursing homes is the blood thinner Coumadin, also known as warfarin. For patients who have previously had a heart attack, stroke, angioplasty procedure, or coronary bypass surgery, this is a life-saving drug. When given correctly, this blood thinner can prevent another heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death.
However, an analysis of government inspections of nursing homes between 2011 and 2014 revealed 165 hospitalizations and deaths related to the use of Coumadin, leading the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue a warning to health inspectors to be on the lookout for more problems involving this drug in nursing homes.
How Coumadin Has Been Misused
According to the report released by ProPublica and co-published with The Washington Post, patients suffered from both overdoses of the medication, which resulted in internal bleeding, and under-doses, which led to heart attacks and strokes. Earlier studies of the drug also revealed frequent mistakes and concluded that the drug must be closely monitored when being given to patients. When a nursing homes is understaffed or staffed by unqualified attendants, monitoring medication is often one of the first things to go and, unfortunately, patients suffer.
Protect Your Loved Ones
Nearly 20 percent of nursing home residents are taking anticoagulants, or blood thinners, to prevent heart attack or stroke. Given the danger posed by Coumadin if it is not properly administered, it is vital that nursing home staff is carefully monitoring these residents. If someone you care about is in a nursing home has been prescribed anticoagulant medication, make sure you are communicating with her caregivers about it. If you suspect your loved one suffered because of a mistake with the drug, you may have a case against the drug manufacturer and the nursing home. Click the call link or fill in the contact form on the right to get in touch with us. We are here to help.