Nursing homes must ensure that residents are free of any significant medication errors. Yet, medication errors in nursing homes occur far too often when nursing home staff fail to give needed medications, give the wrong medications, give the wrong dosage of the medication, or fail to give the medication according to the frequency ordered by the resident’s physician. Only a very small percentage of medication errors in nursing homes are reported.
There is no excuse for failing to follow a physician’s medication order. Such failures are caused by the carelessness or disregard by the nursing home staff, inadequate supervision of the staff, or not having enough staff to ensure the medications are properly given to the residents.
1 out of 10 nursing home residents suffers a medication-related injury each month
Researchers in Massachusetts revealed that the problem of medication errors was far more widespread than previously estimated. The Boston Globe reported: “The study found that 73 percent of the most severe injuries – including internal bleeding and death – were preventable, along with many of the others. The most common problems were confusion, oversedation, hallucinations, or bleeding due to prescribing errors or failure to carefully monitor patients for side effects. The researchers found that warfarin, a blood thinner, and antipsychotic drugs caused the most problems.”
The lead author of the study, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, warns that relatives of nursing home patients need to be alert to possible medication errors: They’re often the most capable of recognizing that there has been a change in the status of their relative. The best way to do that is to know what’s going on, ask a lot of questions, and understand what medications their relatives are on, why they’re on them, and what the side effects are.
If you believe a loved one has had a medication error because the nursing home failed to do its job, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a FREE CONSULTATION.