Life Style

The pain doesn’t stop — because her medicine was stolen

LaVonne Borsheim’s family couldn’t understand why she was suffering from such severe pain.

86-year-old Borsheim has long struggled with rheumatoid arthritis and other health problems such as hip and knee replacement and heart failure. Her husband, Roger, takes care of her in a small house on the outskirts of Minneapolis, with prescribed daily oxycontin and oxycodone that allow her to stay active, ride a tandem bike, and stay involved with the Lutheran Church. It was managed with the utmost care.

However, in 2018, Borsheim was treated for the infection by undergoing ankle surgery and subsequent surgery. Freed from the hospital on regular home medical visits, she began a phenomenal decline.

Her daughter Kari Shaw remembered one of their daily calls. She is really debilitated. At other times, her pain became so severe that “she was begging God to take her,” Shaw said.

No one suspected cheating by a clearly devoted new home nurse who received Mr. Borsheim’s prescription at the pharmacy and filled the pill pack. However, when Mr. Bolshame took his wife to a pain clinic, blood and urine tests showed no opioids in her system.

The family called the police.

How often do older Americans fall victim to diversion of prescription drugs, especially opioids, for personal use or sale? Researchers and supporters seeking to protect older people from abuse and exploitation want them to know. The data is sparse and scattered, but suggests a serious problem.

in the meantime Country’s ongoing opioid crisisOver 20 years, 500,000 people have died from overdose, and manufacturers and numerous voluntary doctors have flooded parts of the country with prescription drugs, especially oxycodone.

Dr. Michael Steinman, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco and co-director of the US Deprescribing Research Network, said:

Researcher at the University of Mississippi, Analysis of annual data from millions of Medicare beneficiariesReported that the percentage of people who received at least one new opioid prescription rose from almost 7% in 2013 to more than 10% in 2015 and then settled at about 8% in 2016.

That year, about One-third of the beneficiaries of Medicare Apartment D There was at least one opioid prescription, according to a federal Department of Health and Human Services inspector general.

Opioids put the elderly at risk, increase the risk of falls and cognitive impairment, and can interact harmfully with other drugs. However, their increased use makes older people vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

“If you need medicine, open your grandma’s medicine rack,” said Pamela Teaster, a gerontologist at Virginia Tech.

In some cases, theft occurs in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 2019, when Voices of consumers nationwide surveyed More than half of the 137 state and local ombudsmen who filed long-term care complaints reported complaints about drug diversion, drug theft, or financial exploitation due to opioid addiction.

Minnesota has tracked drug diversion in long-term care and found that between 2016 and 2018, the number of recorded cases in nursing homes surged from nine to 116. After that, there were 55 cases in 2019. Cases for both types of facilities dropped to single digits last year, as they may reflect Covid-related shutdowns and restrictions.

The perpetrators, most often employees, have developed amazing ingenuity. An analysis of Minnesota’s data by Eilon Caspi, a gerontologist and researcher at the University of Connecticut, found that thieves forged signatures, modified documents, and diluted the drug with a syringe. Some slits opened the foil backing of the pill card, replaced commercial tablets and reattached the foil.

The employee left the facility with pills in his purse, waistband, bra and socks, but the patient suffered from painful consequences. Prosecutors and the press have reported arrests of employees nationwide, including: Iowa, Rhode Island, Georgia When Florida..

However, in many cases, drug diversion victims live in their own homes, and those who steal drugs are probably their families.

Dr. Roberto and Dr. Teaster have conducted law enforcement, substance abuse, and adult protection service experts and focus groups in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, where opioid misuse is widespread. We first investigated the issue in 2017.

After taking it by relatives, “they told one after another that older people couldn’t get the painkillers they needed,” Dr. Roberto said.

In one harsh report in Kentucky, a caregiver took a relative with dementia to several dentists in an attempt to relieve the pain. Eventually, I had the elderly pull out their teeth to access the opioids.

Researchers then examined three-year state data from eastern Kentucky to find 25 proven cases of elder abuse, including opioid use. “In these families, we often see interdependence,” said Dr. Roberto. Adult children or grandchildren, usually children with criminal records, and perhaps children recently released from prison, move with older people. They may provide care. They may also need housing, food, or money. And they may help themselves with senior medicine.

“Older people don’t want to bother their families when things go wrong and the spiral goes out of control,” Dr. Roberto said. “They are very protective of them,” he refuses to report or confirm the abuse.

Dr. Steinman said federal guidelines could have leveled off opioid use by older people. State drug monitoring program It makes it difficult to obtain and misuse these drugs. However, opioids remain a thorny problem for older people, as alternative pain treatments may also be dangerous or ineffective.

Patients and family caregivers can help protect themselves by keeping prescription medications safe, overcoming their silence, and reporting theft and exploitation.

La Van, a registered nurse who appears to be taking care of Mr. Bolshaim, was arrested in August 2018 and found to be using over-the-counter painkillers and allergy medications instead of her medications. bottom. Since Mr Van had no criminal record, the county prosecutor planned to offer a judicial transaction without prison time.

“Slap in the hand,” Shaw said. She was furious and called the Federal Drug Enforcement Department in Minneapolis, leading to federal prosecution. Investigators found that 29-year-old Van had been fired from two previous home medical institutions for stealing the patient’s medicine.

He admitted that he was addicted to opioids and began treatment. In May 2019, he pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining regulated substances in federal court. “I was supposed to be the trustworthy, protective, and knowledgeable person of this victim, but it wasn’t,” he said in a judgment.

The judge sentenced federal prisons to 18 months — “beyond normal sentencing guidelines,” said Borsheim’s lawyer Joel Smith. A civil lawsuit against Mr. Vang and his employer, Lifesprk Home Health, was settled before the trial this summer. Mr Van lost his nursing license.

But for the family, the impact continues. Roger Bolshame died suddenly in May 2020 at the age of 87. “My personal opinion is that all these stresses killed my dad,” Shaw said.

After that, Mr. Bolshaim moved to a long-term care facility that one of his three daughters visits almost every day. She feels better, but remains scared.

“Someone came to take care of you, gained all that trust and almost killed you,” Shaw said. “Now she is very afraid that one of us is missing.”

“It’s a pain,” she said. “How many other people did he do this? And how many more La Vans are there?”

The pain doesn’t stop — because her medicine was stolen

Source link The pain doesn’t stop — because her medicine was stolen

Back to top button