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AUSTIN -- A KVUE Defenders investigation uncovers an increase in Texas nursing home residents harmed by medication errors.

KVUE's findings come after Sandy Martinez says her father, Paul Travio, is one of those residents impacted.

"We had noticed some behavior issues with him, and we couldn't pinpoint what was going on because he started sundowning a lot. He wasn't talkative anymore," said Martinez.

A few months later, Travio's daughter got a call from CVS Pharmacy indicating it was time to refill their father's prescription for Sinemet, a medication to help treat Travio's Parkinson's disease.

She then checked with her father's nursing home. "And it wasn't until then that we had found out that he was not getting his medication properly."

While the state cited Travio's nursing home for medication errors in the past, his family couldn't prove it this time. A KVUE Defenders investigation uncovered their concerns shed light into an increasing problem across the state.

Digging through state records, the KVUE Defenders uncovered state investigators cited Texas nursing homes 1,060 times for medication errors in 2011. In 2013, violations jumped by nearly 200 more.

Of those, staff giving residents 'unnecessary drugs' increased the most by more than 78 percent.

"These are things that are completely preventable. They shouldn't happen," explains Amanda Fredriksen, who works for AARP in Austin.

Earlier this year, AARP conducted a study on nursing home care across the country. It found Texas nursing homes inappropriately administer antipsychotic drugs to residents with no mental illness, nearly more than any other state in the country. Texas tied with Louisiana.

Fredriksen says that's a sign facilities likely don't have enough staff. "It would be easier to medicate them, to calm them down, to make it easier for them to handle, and that's something we don't want to see," contends Fredriksen

"The fact that we rank that high is concerning," said Melissa Gale, a spokesperson for the Department of Aging and Disability Services, the agency which regulates Texas nursing homes.

In July, DADS recognized the problem and started a program to better train nursing home staff on how to administer medication, especially antipsychotic drugs.

The program is called TRAIN, Texas Reducing Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes.

"DADS [have] collaborated with many partners in developing the TRAIN program to help providers reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes and improve pain management in individuals with dementia," wrote Gale in a follow-up email.

DADS have held six training sessions across Texas so far.

"It's safe to say there was a need obviously when you see the rates like this going up," contends Gale.

Less than a month after his 82nd birthday, Travio died. His daughter doesn't want others to suffer and hopes state officials are listening.

"Please understand that something needs to be done," said Martinez.

On Wednesday, lawmakers on a special commission could make recommendations to reform DADS and hold nursing homes more accountable for their actions.

Sandy Martinez says her father, Paul Travio, is one of those residents impacted.

Sandy Martinez says her father, Paul Travio, is one of those residents impacted.

Sandy Martinez says her father, Paul Travio, is one of those residents impacted.

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