Medical cannabis has been used to treat several diseases, providing relief to individuals who suffer from conditions such as chronic pain, nausea, or stiff muscles. While there are apparent benefits to using medical cannabis, and over half of U.S. states have legalized it in some form, nursing homes have denied its access to residents who have ailments that could be improved with its use.
Government Funding Prevents the Use of Medical Cannabis
The problem for nursing homes isn’t with the substance itself; the issue is that many homes receive federal funds. The federal government does not distinguish between cannabis for recreational use and cannabis for medicinal use. If a nursing home purchases medical cannabis for, or administers it to, residents, the facility could be in violation of federal laws, putting it at risk of losing funding.
Adapted Policies and Procedures Allow Residents Access to Medical Cannabis
The Hebrew Home in New York has found an innovative way to permit its residents to legally access and use medical cannabis. In 2016, when New York legalized medical cannabis under the Compassionate Care Act, the home’s CEO, Dan Reingold, sought ways to help residents who needed the substance obtain it. He had seen the benefits of its use when his father was suffering from terminal cancer and found relief after taking it. Reingold felt it was wrong to deny access to Hebrew Home’s residents when other New York citizens were able to take medical cannabis.
Reingold, along with The Hebrew Home’s Medical Director, Dr. Zachary Palace, developed policies that allow residents to purchase their own medical cannabis from state-approved vendors and self-administer the substance, or receive assistance administering it from a caregiver not employed by the nursing home. Such policies keep the home in compliance with federal law while allowing residents to benefit from the state’s laws.
Residents Report Improved Health Conditions and Quality of Life
Dr. Palace monitored 10 patients who were part of Hebrew Home’s medical cannabis program. In The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, he reported that residents who received the substance had a reduction in pain and an improved quality of life.
Many nursing homes deny access to medical cannabis, but doing so prevents residents from receiving treatment that could provide relief for their conditions. Facilities like The Hebrew Home make great strides in helping residents get the care they need.
Contact Brown & Barron, LLC for Legal Representation
Our attorneys at Brown & Barron, LLC are committed to holding nursing homes responsible for care that falls below industry standards. If your loved one suffered an injury because of neglect at a nursing home, contact our skilled team for legal representation.
For a free consultation, call us at (410) 698-1717 or contact us online.