As some states have approved dispensing and use of Medical Marijuana, nursing homes in those state have been working to resolve how this fits with their protocols and resident needs.
A recent article in the New York Times discusses this issue and states, "as older people come to represent an emerging frontier in the use of marijuana for medical purposes, questions are being raised about safety and accessibility".
For instance, in the State of New York, the NY Department of Health (DOH) released proposed regulations governing the use of medical marijuana (marihuana) under the recently enacted Compassionate Care Act.
According to the proposal, some of the "conditions that would allow a patient to access marijuana as a medical therapy are: cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington's disease. …Certified patients and their caregivers would be issued a Registry Identification Card that includes the dosing recommendation" (Leading Age New York),
In the article, When Retirement Comes With a Daily Dose of Cannabis, describes how facilites are struggling to balance the fact that Federal law does not allow marijuana with Medicare funding, and so may not be able to store or dispense the medication themselves even if that state has approved use. There are a number of other questions and need for education that will likely be addressed in the near future as this new frontier in treatment continues to unfold.
Rosen & Spears is a plaintiff law firm which seeks to protect the rights of healthcare consumers and their loved ones through medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, financial abuse of seniors, and other types of claims. For more information, please contact us.