As compared to younger individuals, seniors are more likely to experience chronic pain, limited/painful mobility and other medical conditions associated with age-related physical changes. In turn, opioid painkillers are prescribed to the elderly population at a higher rate. While these drugs can be beneficial for short-term pain management, they can cause dangerous complications when relied on for a longer period, especially in high dosages. In this article, we’ll outline some of the major problems that may arise from the use of opioids such as fentanyl in elderly care facilities.
If you are an attorney working on a case involving pharmaceuticals and a senior, Cardinal LifeCare’s skilled legal nurse consultants can provide a range of case-benefitting services. Our network of registered nurses is highly trained and qualified to identify breaches in standard of care, develop evidence-based life care plans and serve as medical expert witnesses. To learn more about how engaging our services can be an asset to your client’s case, call us at 724-487-0519.
Possible Complications of Fentanyl in Elderly Care
In hospitals, rehabilitation centers and long-term nursing care facilities, opioids are commonly used to help elderly patients manage chronic or acute pain. In addition to an increased risk of drug dependence and substance abuse, long-term opioid use can contribute to several other serious consequences. Common risks associated with the use of fentanyl in elderly care settings include:
- Heightened risk of falls, fractures and other injuries;
- Interactions with other medications;
- Increased chance of hospital admission/readmission; and
- Cognitive decline, among others.
In light of these risks, it is of paramount importance that opioid medications be administered in the appropriate dosage – for the shortest possible duration – by a qualified medical professional. Close and careful monitoring of elderly patients taking opioids is also key to prevent potential patient harm stemming from incorrect dosage, drug interactions and side effects. Unfortunately, negligence-related drug complications are not unheard of.
If an elder experiences adverse effects from fentanyl or another opioid while under the care of nursing staff, it is possible that this could qualify as medical negligence. Determining whether a breach of duty and standard of care has occurred requires thorough review from a medically trained expert.
Count On Our Knowledgeable Legal Medical Consultants to Support Your Case
At Cardinal LifeCare, our certified legal nurse consultants are highly skilled in evaluating medical evidence and analyzing associated research/standards to establish whether patient harm resulted from a healthcare provider’s negligence. If we find that the appropriate medical standard of care was not followed, our professionals can provide unbiased expert testimony demonstrating how this failure on the part of the medical professional(s) contributed to patient harm.
Following an instance of alleged medical negligence such as drug overprescription, our legal medical specialists can also develop an objective, comprehensive life care plan that lays out the patient’s care needs and associated costs.
From insurance company negotiations to trial, partnering with our experts can be a vital asset to your client’s case throughout the litigation process. To learn more about our nurse consulting and expert witness services, reach out to us today at 724-487-0519.