Many times I meet with families who were not told about medication changes or what a resident was prescribed.  It is easy to know what a resident is prescribed.  There is a document called a Medication Administration Record.  Nursing home staff refer to this document as a MAR.  It lists what a person is prescribed, what dosage, and when and how gave the medication.

This information is important to know for many reasons, one of which was recently highlighted in an excellent article in the LA Times.  A new study reported on in the LA Times showed the use of certain medications for anxiety and sleep increase risk of Alzheimer’s.   Unfortunately, the medications – the class called benzodiazepines that includes Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Klonopin – are common prescribed in nursing homes.

The study indicated that those who took high doses for short periods of time, or lower doses, did not show problems.  It seems as though the problems are for those who took long-acting or high doses over several months.  You can read the full article here.