At one midstate nursing home, a lack of close scrutiny

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jul 28, 2015 4:44 AM

(Harrisburg) -- A popular blood thinner is widely praised by the medical community, and for good reason - it can save lives. But a story from the nonprofit journalism outlet ProPublica points out the risks associated with the drug, if it isn't monitored closely.

A 2007 peer-reviewed study estimated 34,000 nursing home residents suffer serious injuries from the drug every year.

In 2013, federal inspectors cited a midstate nursing home for failing to document monitoring of a patient on Coumadin.

A physician at ManorCare Health's York South location didn't note an urgent notice from a pharmacist related to a patient taking the prescription.

Sam Brooks, a lawyer with the advocacy group Community Legal Services, says these are just the cases that are known.

"And oftentimes, this just ends up in civil litigation and the nursing home will settle with the resident or the resident's family and require them not to share any information," he says.

"Oftentimes, it's part of a pattern. We'll speak with a loved one or even a resident and they'll say. 'Well, this isn't the first time, I complained to the nursing home administrator or to the nurse that they were missing my mother's medication,'" he adds.

Brooks says he'd like to see more robust enforcement of regulations and more punishments when nursing homes break rules.

ManorCare refused a taped interview, but in a statement, says its medication dispensing measures are appropriate.

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