Nursing Homes’ Residents Face Health Risks from Improper Prescriptions for Antibiotics

Antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly to ailing nursing home residents up to 75 percent of the time, the nation’s public health watchdog says. The reasons vary — wrong drug, wrong dose, wrong duration or just unnecessarily — but the consequences are scary, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overused antibiotics over time lose their effectiveness against the infections they were designed to treat. Some already have. And some antibiotics actually cause life-threatening illnesses on their own. The CDC last month advised all nursing homes to do more — immediately — to protect more than 4 million residents from hard-to-treat superbugs that are growing in number and resist antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant infections threaten everyone, but elderly people in nursing homes are especially at risk because their bodies don’t fight infections as well. The CDC counts 18 top antibiotic-resistant infections that sicken more than 2 million people a year and kill 23,000. Those infections contribute to deaths in many more cases.

The CDC is launching a public education campaign for nursing homes aimed at preventing more bacterial and viral infections from starting and stopping others from spreading. A similar effort was rolled out for hospitals last year. “One way to keep older Americans safe from these superbugs is to make sure antibiotics are used appropriately all the time and everywhere, particularly in nursing homes,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in announcing the initiative. Studies have estimated antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately 40 to 75 percent of the time in nursing homes.

Source/more: USA Today

 

David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.

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