Nursing Home Medication Errors

State and federal regulations require nursing homes to maintain a medication error rate of less than five-percent, and to make sure residents aren’t subject to any significant medication errors. Despite these requirements, nursing home medication errors are recognized as a frequently occurring problem in Georgia and in long-term care facilities nationwide. Read on for more information about the types of medication errors threatening the well-being of our state’s nursing home residents.

Common Mistakes in Administering Medicine to Nursing Home Residents

Medication errors occur when the administration or preparation of medicine varies from a doctor’s orders, manufacturer’s instructions, or the accepted professional standards regarding the medication. A significant medication error is one that causes a nursing home resident discomfort or jeopardizes his or her health or safety.

In most nursing homes, the “med pass” system is used to distribute medications among residents. A nurse goes from resident to resident with a cart, administering medications one after the other. Although the process sounds simple, numerous mistakes may occur, all of which can result in medication errors with dire consequences. Some common types of nursing home medication errors include:

  • Failure to provide adequate fluids, foods, or antacids with medications
  • Failure to properly shake, mix, or roll the medication
  • Slicing or crushing medications that should not be altered
  • Improperly using metered dose inhalers (MDIs)
  • Under-dosing or missed dosing
  • Overdosing or administering multiple doses
  • Administering expired medication
  • Administering the wrong medication, strength of medication, or form of medication
  • Administering medication at the wrong time of day, duration, or rate
  • Failure to administer medication with the correct technique
  • Failure to monitor residents following the administration of medication
  • Lab work errors

In most cases, nursing home medication errors arise from carelessness and disorganization. However, some lapses cannot be chalked up to accidental oversights. Intentional medication errors occur when a nursing home staff member purposefully disregards medication dispensing procedures, such as choosing to change a dose, adding an unordered medication, or discontinuing medication. When a medication order is ignored or changed, the resident may not receive the intended benefit of the drug therapy prescribed, or be subject to dangerous conditions and side effects.

Contact KWFDM about Nursing Home Medication Errors

If you believe your loved one has experienced a nursing home medication error, please contact the legal team at Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC to schedule a free initial consultation. Our experienced nursing home neglect attorneys can help you protect your loved one from harm, and determine your best course of action moving forward, from obtaining appropriate care to receiving compensation for injuries and damages. We represent clients and families from Alpharetta, Rome, Decatur, Douglasville and across the state of Georgia.

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