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Medication errors occurring in nursing homes

Placing a loved one in a nursing home means trusting others to care for the health and well-being of your aging family member. Most nursing home residents in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have to take medications on a daily basis. Although the number of medications, or the dosage, might change, nursing home employees are trusted to administer these medications correctly and on time.

Over the past few decades there has been a growing concern regarding medication errors in nursing homes. Whether it is the wrong medication, the wrong dosage or delayed administration, family members fear that medical errors will occur if their loved one does not receive the proper dosage of medication at the time prescribed.

While medication errors unfortunately do occur at nursing home facilities at a concerning rate, a recent study has shown that there is a surprisingly low rate of these errors actually impacting or harming nursing home residents. Nonetheless, it should be noted that serious outcomes due to medication errors could be under-reported due to the difficulty of ascertaining these events.

Medication errors involved 16 to 27 percent of all residents in this study. Transfer-related medication errors happened in 13 to 31 percent of residents, while 75 percent of residents were prescribed at least one potentially wrong drug.

Nursing home residents impacted by medication errors should understand that they have recourse available. A medical malpractice claim could help a patient hold a negligent party liable for any injuries or damages suffered. This could help them recover compensation to cover medical bills, pain and suffering, rehabilitation and other related damages.

Source: News-medical.net, "Researchers find low rates of serious impacts from medication errors affecting nursing home residents," Nov. 21, 2016

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