You may be one of the millions of families in the United States who entrust a nursing home to care for an elderly loved one. You also trust nursing home staff to ensure your loved one is taking the right medication at the proper dosage to maintain their health and well-being.
Unfortunately, according to a study conducted by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, up to 27 percent of nursing home residents in the U.S. are victims of medication mistakes, resulting in complications, adverse reactions, even death.
Here is what you need to know about medication errors, and how and why they happen, so you can prevent them and protect your elderly loved one.
What are the Types of Medication Mistakes in Nursing Homes?
An estimated 90 percent of patients in nursing homes take at least one prescription medication daily, which means there is a good chance that ongoing medication mistakes could occur. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in fact, reports that 1.3 million nursing home residents are affected by medication negligence.
The most common types of medication mistakes made in nursing homes are:
- Giving too much (overdose or multiple doses) or not enough medicine
- Failing to give the medication at all
- Giving expired or outdated medicine prescriptions
- Giving medication to the wrong patient
- Failing to properly document the medication paperwork
- Giving the medicine by an incorrect administration (or without enough food or water)
- Giving the wrong form or strength of a medication, and at the wrong rate or duration
- Failing to properly monitor the resident after administering the medication
- Failing to properly prepare or store prescriptions
What are Typical Causes of Medication Mistakes?
There may be one-time medication errors made in long-term care facilities, but chronic medication mistakes could lead to nursing home residents with serious medical issues, even death.
The most common cause is understaffing or lack of training. What are some other typical causes of medication mistakes that can lead to major problems for nursing home residents?
- Lack of attention to detail because a staff member does not have enough time to give the proper care.
- Lack of information on the medication a staff member needs to administer, the resident’s medical history, allergies, and more.
- Failure of a staff member to follow protocol, whether intentional or not.
- Lack of sleep of a staff member, resulting in an incorrect administering of the medication.
- Failure to write down the wrong prescription or misread the dosage on the label.
What Should You Do if Your Loved One is a Victim of a Medication Mistake?
If your loved one has suffered from a medication mistake while a resident at a nursing home, Joel Bryant, expert elder abuse attorney in San Diego, will hold that facility and staff member responsible for their negligent actions.
Bryant is committed to getting the compensation elder victims of personal injuries deserve. Schedule a free consultation, where he will walk you through the best strategies to fight for justice in your loved one’s pain and suffering.