Nursing homes are required to provide and coordinate pharmaceutical services to meet each resident’s needs, and this includes a duty to provide accurate information to the pharmacy furnishing pharmaceutical services.
When transmitting orders to the pharmacy, nursing homes have a dual responsibility to review the medications, as well as to communicate accurate information. If there are any administrative or clerical errors on either end of the facility’s responsibility, then there is a significant chance of mismanaged medication administration.
An experienced lawyer will compare the medications supplied by the pharmacy against the prescribing doctor’s orders.
For any medication order that must be administered promptly, such as an insulin prescription for a diabetic, the facility must administer the medication at the prescribed time. This means at night, on weekends, or on holidays. If the facility’s chosen pharmacy has already made its daily delivery, the nursing home must still find a way to administer the medication at the prescribed time.
To ensure that residents receive their medications safely and in accordance with a physician’s orders, professional standards of care require a licensed pharmacist to review each resident’s drug regimen regularly. This review must occur at least monthly, and any irregularities need to be reported to the physician and the facility’s director of nursing—they have a duty to act on any such reports.
It is important to note that because the pharmacist must use his or her expert understanding of medications and medication interactions, this responsibility cannot be offloaded to subordinate staff members.
The drug regimen review process includes reviewing the nursing home resident’s record for emerging or existing adverse medication consequences, and the potential for adverse drug reactions and medication errors.
Additionally, nursing homes must provide laboratory services to meet their resident’s needs. Lab studies ordered by the physician or pharmacist are essential to evaluating the patient’s response to the medication. The nursing home is responsible for the quality and timeliness of such services, even if the facility does not provide laboratory services on-site.
An experienced lawyer should obtain the contract between the nursing home and the laboratory, as well as the facility’s policies and procedures on laboratory services. Any communications between the facility and the laboratory should be examined as well.
For the other parts in this series, click on the following:
Mismanaged Medications in Nursing Homes: An Overview (Part 1 of 6)
Mismanaged Medications in Nursing Homes: Proper Medication Management (Part 2 of 6)
Mismanaged Medications in Nursing Homes: A Resident’s Medical Records and Medication History (Part 3 of 6)
Mismanaged Medications in Nursing Homes: Maintaining Adequate Staffing and Staffing Procedures (Part 4 of 6)
Mismanaged Medications in Nursing Homes: Conclusion (Part 6 of 6)
The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe you or your loved one has suffered medication errors 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 no-cost, no-obligation consultation.