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Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

Medication errors in nursing homes are entirely preventable. They can happen when a resident has been prescribed the wrong medication, given the wrong dose, or given the wrong time to take their medicine. Medication errors in nursing homes can have serious consequences, including injury or death. Medication errors are also a top sign of elder abuse. Therefore, it is essential for nursing home staff to be adequately trained in medication administration.

Additionally, family members and friends of nursing home residents can play a role in prevention by ensuring that their loved ones are taking their medications as prescribed. Medication errors are a severe problem in nursing homes but are also preventable. We can help keep our loved ones safe from nursing home abuse by taking some simple steps.

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How Do Medication Errors in Nursing Homes Happen?

Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

When most people think of medication errors, they think of medicine being mixed up at the pharmacy. However, these errors can also occur in nursing homes. There are several reasons medication errors in nursing homes happen.

Nursing Home Residents Often Take a Lot of Different Medications

Nursing home residents often take multiple medications for various health issues. This increases the chances that a mistake will be made somewhere along the line. Having a lot of medications is the most common cause of the error.

Cognitive Impairments

Many nursing home residents have cognitive impairments that make it challenging to communicate their needs. As a result, they may be unable to tell staff when they are experiencing side effects or other problems.

Understaffed and Undertrained Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are understaffed and overworked, which can lead to corners being cut. As a result, medication errors can have consequences for nursing home residents. These consequences can be illness, injury, and death. For this reason, it is essential for family members to be aware of the risks and hold nursing homes accountable.

Old, Manual Systems of Medication Management

Outdated methods for tracking and dispensing medication can lead to mistakes such as giving the wrong dose or medication to the wrong resident. Many technological systems help ensure safety.

Intentionality

In rare cases, medication errors can result from an intentional, premeditated act from a nursing home staff member.

What Happens After There’s Been a Medication Error in Nursing Homes?

After a medication error occurs in a nursing home, the facility must legally report the error to the state licensing board.

Investigation

An investigation will start, during which time the nursing home will be required to provide evidence that the error was an isolated incident and that steps have been taken to prevent future errors.

Consequences

If the state licensing board finds the nursing home negligent, they may impose fines or other sanctions. In some cases, the nursing home may even lose its license.

Moving Forward

Once an investigation has been completed and any necessary corrective action has been taken, the nursing home may be able to continue operation. However, it is essential to note that medication errors can have severe consequences for nursing home residents and the facility itself. As such, all nursing homes must ensure that their medication management processes are as safe and effective as possible.

Examples of Nursing Home Medication Errors

Nursing homes are entrusted with the care of some of the most vulnerable members of our society: the elderly. Due to the medical conditions that often come with old age, nursing home residents take multiple medications daily, increasing their risk of a medication error.

Medication errors can occur while prescribing or dispensing the medicine. Some common examples include:

  • giving the wrong medicine
  • giving the wrong dose
  • failing to monitor for reactions
  • Or missed doses

While nursing homes must take precautions to prevent such errors, they still happen. That's why it's so important for nursing homes to have policies and procedures in place to help prevent these mistakes from happening. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is crucial to stay vigilant in monitoring their care.

How to Get Legal Help in Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a medication error in a nursing home, you may wonder how to report the older abuse. The first step is reporting the abuse. Unfortunately, these errors are common in nursing homes and can often have severe or fatal outcomes. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a medication error, it is vital to also seek legal help as soon as possible.

An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to review your case and determine whether you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the nursing home. In many cases, families affected by medication errors in nursing homes have been able to recover damages for their losses. In addition, if you have lost a loved one due to a medication error, you may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Nobody should suffer the consequences of a nursing home medication error. However, if you believe your loved one has been the victim of such an error, it is essential to seek legal help.

Medication Standards for Elders

The elderly population is one of the most vulnerable regarding medication safety. This is because they are more likely to have chronic conditions that require multiple medications.

As a result, elders are at increased risk for medication errors, drug interactions, and side effects. Especially if they start taking new medicine for bed sores, an infection, or other illnesses. As a result, many countries have established specific medication standards for elders. These standards typically involve closer monitoring of medication use, including regular reviews of prescriptions and dosages.

The Procedure of Medication Administration in Nursing Home

The procedure of medication administration is a complex process. First, a nurse must gather all of the necessary medications and supplies. Next, the nurse will review the patient's medication list to ensure that all medications are accounted for.

Once the nurse has verified that all the medications are present, they will begin preparing the medication doses. The nurse will then call the patient to the medication administration area and verify their identity. After the patient has been adequately identified, the nurse will administer the medications.

Finally, the nurse will document the medications that were administered and any side effects that were noted. This process must be carried out with great attention to detail to ensure patients receive their medications safely and accurately.

Conclusion

There are many causes of medication errors in nursing homes. Some of these causes are due to system problems, while others are due to individual factors.  Nursing home staff must reduce the likelihood of errors. This may include implementing new policies and procedures, increasing communication and education, and investing in technology. By taking these steps, nursing homes can help to ensure that their residents receive the medications they need when they need them.

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