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Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

Unfortunately, medication errors in nursing homes are not uncommon. A medication error occurs when a resident or patient is not giving a medication they should be taking or when they are given a medication that they are not supposed to receive. Medication errors also occur in hospitals, but at a much lower rate than they occur in nursing homes. There are estimates that one out of five nursing home residents suffer from errors in their medicines on the part of the nursing home staff. Because of the potential of serious consequences for medication errors, nursing homes need to be vigilant in their preparation and distribution of medication to their residents.

The majority of medication errors are minor, but things such as adverse drug effects can be caused by these mistakes.  Some things that can be caused by these errors are overdoses and negative drug interactions. These reactions can have very negative consequences for the resident. These mistakes can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, delirium, incontinence, changes in behavior or falls and fractures. These additional health problems caused by residents receiving the wrong medicine can lead to high costs for both the patients as well as their families. The mix up of medications can cause new health problems that can be very costly both physically and financially.

Loved ones of those in nursing homes can help to reduce medication errors in nursing homes by ensuring that their loved one’s medicines are being properly monitored.  There are many ways in which a medication error can occur. Some examples include under-dosing or overdosing the medicine, incorrect duration or frequency of the medication and incorrect crushing of the medication. Nurse home staff members need to ensure that they are following the instructions of the prescription,. If an error is made, they should contact the doctor immediately.

A majority of the medication errors are preventable. These errors can occur because the nursing homes do not have enough staff members or their staff members are inadequately trained. If you believe your loved one is suffering because of  medication errors, you should contact an attorney to see what can be done.


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