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I think my mom’s medication is affecting her negatively. How can I get her nursing home to adjust it? | Chicago, Illinois Elder Law Attorney Anthony B. Ferraro

I recommend documenting what you have seen since your mother started the medication in question. You can also start out by directly calling the physician who prescribed it and asking about your concerns. Your mother could be experiencing a transition period, which might be expected. If you think you are getting resistance from nursing home staff members, you should speak with the facility’s administrator. You may also ask to sit in on the next care-planning meeting for your mother. This is where various members of the nursing home caregiving staff collectively discuss a resident’s health status and plan of care. By rule, you are to be informed of these meetings and allowed to attend them. If you are not satisfied with what you hear, then you have to make a further decision. There is the option of calling your state’s long-term care ombudsman. Ombudsmen have been trained to advocate on behalf of nursing home residents. This person can work as a mediator to help you and your mother’s facility work out any differences. You should feel comfortable enough that she is in a safe environment, with people who care for her around her. If this isn’t the case, you might have to move her to another nursing home. This is a difficult decision to come to because moving is hard, especially on a person with Alzheimer’s. Weigh the pros and cons. But the bottom line has to remain whether you are comfortable with the facility where your mother is living. If you’re constantly worried, then your qualify of life could go down. If all else fails in a situation like this and you are your mom’s power of attorney for healthcare, you can request a change in her medication. Just be sure to have spoken with her physician ahead of time to ensure that this is the best thing for her.  For more information, sign up for the Alzheimer’s Resource Kit here.