Nursing Home Medications

We understand that it’s important for families to know what medications their loved ones are taking, what they do, and the importance of them. We encourage family members to be aware and involved in resident care. A resident and their sponsor has the right to be informed about the resident’s condition, treatment options, risks and benefits of treatment, expected outcomes of treatment, and the right to refuse care and treatment including medications.  Medications can be addressed and explained in care plan meetings. While we will only cover a few medications in this blog, please feel free to ask your loved one’s nurse about their current medication regime. 

 

Medications play an integral role in care in the nursing home. They are administered to achieve various outcomes such as curing illnesses, reducing or eliminating symptoms, or slowing or preventing a disease process. Using medications to care for residents promotes maintenance or enhancement of quality of life. Proper medication selection may help stabilize or improve a resident’s care outcome and functional capacity. Each medication is carefully considered before administration due to possibilities of adverse reactions or multiple medication interactions.  Below are some common medications that may be seen due to common disease processes throughout the nursing home.  Although a single medication may be prescribed for a number of different reasons, these frequently prescribed medications are most commonly used as listed below.

 

  1. Lasix- loop diuretic used for treating high blood pressure or water retention        

  2. Coumadin- anticoagulant used to treat or prevent blood clots

  3. Synthroid- thyroid hormone used to treat low thyroid activity

  4. Lisinopril- angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used for treating high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and to improve survival after a heart attack

  5. Remeron- an antidepressant used for treating depression

  6. Zoloft- antidepressant used for treating depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  7. Protonix- a proton pump inhibitor which decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach used to treat erosive esophagitis and other conditions involving excess stomach acid

  8. Aricept- used for treating dementia of the Alzheimer’s type

  9. Ativan- anti-anxiety medication used to treat anxiety or anxiety associated with symptoms of depression 

  10. Seroquel- an anti-psychotic medication used to treat the symptoms of conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

  11. Morphine- an opioid used for treating pain

  12. Reglan- an antiemetic used for nausea/vomiting, constipation

 

The most frequently occurring side effects of these medications are as follows:

 

  • muscle weakness

  • nausea

  • dizziness

  • diarrhea

  • drowsiness

  • stomach upset

  • tiredness

  • headache

  • sleeplessness

  • lightheadedness

  • constipation

 

 As healthcare professionals, our nursing staff works closely with our medical director physician to provide the best possible care and outcomes for our patients and residents.  This includes constantly assessing our residents to identify, track and document possible side effects.  We also immediately consult with our medical director regarding concerns when medication side effects appear to be impacting therapy outcomes.  For more information or specifics on medications, please see one of our nurses.   

 

 

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