When you or someone you care about is staying in a nursing home, compassionate, competent care should be expected. The Nursing Home Care Act, or NHCA, establishes guidelines for carrying out such care. In some facilities, however, these rules are not always followed as closely as they should be. Sadly, you may not even know about infractions, because the behavior appears to be standard operating procedure. Some of the most common infractions are easy to see, however, once you know what they are.

Unnecessary Medication

Residents should not be given any unnecessary medications while staying in a nursing home. Unnecessary drugs include any drug used in an excessive dose, for excessive duration, without adequate monitoring, without indications for its use, or medication administered that results in serious side effects that indicate the drug should be reduced or discontinued. Further, psychotropic medication is not allowed to be given to a resident unless he or she consents to it—drugs that are used for antipsychotic, antidepressant, antimanic, or antianxiety behavior modification require a discussion between the resident or the resident’s authorized representative and the resident’s doctor, a facility pharmacist, or a nurse about the possible risks and benefits of the medication. Forcing a resident to take medication they do not agree to in this sense can be considering nursing home abuse, and may require the action of a lawyer to rectify.

Wearing ID Bracelets

Another common infraction against the NHCA is when patients are forced to wear identification bracelets. Unless a physician calls for the use of ID bracelets or wristlets, residents should not be made to wear them. The insistence of a resident to wear such a bracelet may be an indication of neglect, as it does not require the nursing home staff to be fully in-tune with the care they provide—they may misremember someone’s name and course of care and accidentally give a medication to one person when it is really prescribed for someone else.

These two infractions are both very serious, and if you or someone you love has experienced either of them, it’s in your best interest to call a nursing home neglect lawyer for advice on what to do next.