Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

August 8, 2015

While most people would trust their physicians and pharmacists with administering the appropriate medication, the truth is that mistakes can happen. Even though the average person may be able to monitor his own medication, residents of nursing homes may be even more at risk of medication errors. Medications are a vital part of the care provided to residents of nursing homes, and patients who are unable to administer their own medication may be even more at risk for medication errors.

Types of Errors

Unfortunately, medication errors are not an uncommon occurrence, especially in nursing homes. Residents can be put at risk for various types of medication errors, including:

  • failure to administer prescribed medication;
  • overdose or insufficient dosage;
  • wrong product strength;
  • receiving the wrong type of medication;
  • receiving medication for another patient;
  • expired medication; and,
  • lab work errors.

While these just cover a few of the errors that could take place at a nursing home, the reality is that residents of nursing homes are more vulnerable to these types of errors than the average person. Unfortunately, because of the necessity of medication administration, and because of the environment of a nursing home, these errors can be fairly common in nursing homes.

Dangers

The dangers of medication error are severe enough for the average person. Errors in medication can lead to anything ranging from mild discomfort to death, and can have long-lasting effects on a patient. Residents of nursing homes are even more at risk, due to failing health, or declining cognitive faculties due to neurological degenerative disorders. As a result of medication errors, patients may suffer from a variety of side effects, including, but not limited to:

  • rashes;
  • loss of balance;
  • hemorrhages;
  • oversedation;
  • depression;
  • falls;
  • hives; and,
  • delirium.

In addition, because it is likely that residents of nursing homes may already be taking several different types of medication, the addition of a new medication may have an adverse reaction in the patient.  

How do These Errors Occur?

While the care and safety of a resident in a nursing home should be the top priority of all involved parties, the truth is that these errors still happen. Unfortunately, there are a variety of reasons why they might occur. Not only are nursing home staff responsible for administering a large number of drugs and doses to various residents, but they might also be distracted or interrupted by other concerns. In addition to this, there may be a lack of communication between nursing staff and doctors after a resident has been hospitalized, which can create further confusion for staff when trying to figure out if a medication is current or if it has been discontinued by the physician.

Contact an Attorney

While detecting medication errors can be difficult, once such errors have been identified, it can be possible for you to pursue recovery from the nursing home. Working with an experienced attorney can help you better understand any claims you may have resulting from your or a loved one’s time in a nursing home. Contact the David Ayer Law Offices today in order to speak with a dedicated and experienced attorney.

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