Nursing homes and hospitals across the United States have patients who are methodically deprived of access to medical marijuana; although, they are in states where marijuana has already been made legal. There is a simple reason behind this. Once the nursing home or hospital accepts funding from the federal government and Medicare, many of them choose not to place the funding into a risky situation by permitting a Schedule 1 controlled substance to be used on their property.
Not all nursing homes will resort to such measure. In fact, the Hebrew Home of Riverdale is a nursing facility that houses 735 patients and is located in the outer regions of New York City. They have embraced medical marijuana programs for their nursing home facility under the state law and staying in compliance with the federal law. For the owner of this nursing home, it was important to seek access to the medical marijuana programs for his facility once it became legal.
The priority to be part of the program was inevitable, especially for his patient’s treatment. One of the reasons why the CEO and owner, Dan Reingold chose this path was that he had seen what medical marijuana did for his ailing dad; providing relief when he was going through terminal cancer. This convinced Reingold of its viability and effectiveness.
He thinks that the patients in his nursing home facility are entitled to benefiting from medical marijuana and as long as he could get them access, then that is exactly what he decided to do unlike other similar facilities that do not want to take on the risk. The patients of these nursing home facilities get to experience the same benefits that other medical marijuana users do on a daily basis. According to Reingold, he had an obligation to enforce and protect the rights of his ailing residents who were in long term care.
After he obtained full support from his executive board and medical director, Reingold developed his own set of procedures along with the policies that would enable patients to legally use medical marijuana that they accessed and obtained as a result of his actions and their rights.
The CEO, Medical Director and staff took a novel approach to finding ways to improve the quality of life for the patients who reside inside the nursing home, especially since the idea is that they were under long term care and needed to enjoy some form of comfort and help to manage their ailments. Another reason for taking this approach is the fact that it simplifies medication routines and regimens for the patient. It also avoids poly-pharmacy and eliminates medication that is known for their harsh side effects. With the introduction of medical marijuana, this nursing facility and others would have made these goals consistent.
The Federal Guidelines
However, for nursing home facilities to remain compliant and consistent with the federal law, they are not allowed to buy medical marijuana or store it. Each resident has to buy their own medical marijuana from a certified dispensary.
For residents unable to travel, most dispensaries offer free delivery and consultation over Skype. The residents also have to administer the medicine on their own or have it done by a state caregiver who is working outside of the nursing home. Most nursing home facilities are non-smoking and so residents have to administer the medications orally by tinctures or capsules.
Some nursing home facilities like the Hebrew Home goes a step further to offer medical marijuana education to its residents so they can understand the role of marijuana as a treatment option and to dispel all the myths about weed. Learn more about medical marijuana in various states by visiting the Cannabis Training University.