“A medication error is any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is under the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, healthcare products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, order communication, product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring, and use.”
Many nursing home patients require multiple medications taken daily. It is essential that nursing homes have strong procedures in place to ensure errors do not occur.
Types of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes
There are four general categories of medication errors which may occur in the nursing home and skilled nursing facility.
They include the following:
- Providing medication at the incorrect time
- Providing medication to the wrong patient
- Providing medication after a doctor had discontinued recommending the patient receive it
- Providing medication at the wrong dose
Causes of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes
The causes of all medication errors that occur in nursing homes have not all been identified. But many of the causes relate to the failure of one or more of the following:
Under Staffing: In many nursing homes, there may only be one registered nurse that is responsible for implementing and overseeing the information flow, storage, and appropriate administration of medication.
Lack of Adequate Procedures: there should be a medication management protocol in place regarding the administration of medication. In some cases, the procedure is flawed or its implementation is not regularly followed.
Communication Failure: there should also be systems in place regarding communication with doctors and internal staff regarding a change of medication, a dose of medication, or discontinuing of medication. These communication systems are designed to prevent medication errors.
Lack of Supervision: nursing home staff should supervise the receipt and ingestion of all medication to ensure it is taken and not received by other patients.
Incidents and Injuries Related to Medication Failures in Nursing Homes
Because medication can be such an essential component of the health and functioning of a nursing home patient, they may sustain many different types of injuries when medication errors occur.
- Head Injuries
- Organ Failure
- Increased Risk of Falling
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer Regarding Potential Medication Errors
If you believe your loved one has been the victim of a medication error at a nursing home or similar type so facility, contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.