The Use of Anticoagulation Therapy on Nursing Home Residents in Evanston
Anticoagulation therapy is medication therapy used to reduce the risk of blood clots from forming in at-risk nursing home residents. Most of these at-risk residents are those who have undergone surgery, are immobile or suffer from hearty arrhythmia. When these residents do not receive the right dose of anticoagulants and do not get the monitoring they require while on this medication, serious complications can arise.
Complications of Anticoagulation Therapy
Every anticoagulant comes with its own side effects, such as vomiting, headaches and easy bruising. All of them, however, can lead to the following two potentially life-threatening complications:
- Increased risk of bleeding or hemorrhaging in the gastrointestinal tract, the brain or the urinary tract
- Severe negative interactions with other medications
If your loved one is taking anticoagulants, or blood thinners, such as warfarin and heparin, make sure you educate yourself on the risk factors for hemorrhaging so you can avoid severe health consequences from the outset.
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Risk Factors for Hemorrhaging While Taking Anticoagulants
The risk of bleeding in residents receiving anticoagulants is quite high. Risk factors that make some nursing home residents more prone to hemorrhaging include:
- Being 70 years of age or older
- Suffering from cerebrovascular disease or hypertension
- History of gastrointestinal bleeding
- Lengthy use of oral anticoagulants
Knowing the risk factors, and recognizing when your loved one is experiencing discomfort, can help prevent serious hemorrhaging and potentially fatal consequences.
What Nursing Home Staff Can Do to Prevent Complications
According to one publication out of the Western Journal of Medicine, anticoagulation therapy can work safely when the resident receives close supervision from his or her doctor, and when that relationship receives proper support from laboratory facilities to monitor and control the medication therapy. This means the nursing home staff need only perform a couple core duties to make sure its residents do not suffer from the negative consequences of anticoagulation therapy:
- Attentive and frequent monitoring of the resident’s health condition as related to the anticoagulant and the condition it is treating
- Constant monitoring of medication levels so doctors are aware of the correct doses at all times
If your loved one is not receiving this type of treatment currently, either due to understaffing or some other form of neglect, and you want to know what you can do to help get that treatment in place, call an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer for advice.
You can find additional information on what anticoagulation therapy is used for or the drugs prescribed and risks associated with anticoagulants on our Anticoagulation Drugs FAQ page. You can also view our blood thinners page to find out more about drugs, risks and lawsuits.