Nursing Home Medication Errors and How to Help
Medication mistakes present a danger to elderly patients. Approximately 800,000 nursing home patients are injured by medication mistakes in the United States every year. If your loved one lives at home, in assisted living, or in a nursing home, you should be aware of how to prevent medication errors to keep your loved one safe.
Elderly people living at home may often make mistakes when taking medications. They could reach for the wrong pill bottle or take the wrong dosage at the wrong time. A study found that 1.3 million adults who were not in health care facilities were injured in the United States every year by medication mistakes.
To help protect your loved one:
- Keep track of your loved one’s prescribed and over-the-counter medications, as well as herbal or other supplements. Maintain a written list that includes the names of the medications, dosages, the prescribing physicians and pharmacies. Keep a copy and give your loved one a copy. Use this information to talk to your loved one’s doctor and pharmacist.
- Discard medications as soon as your loved one is finished taking them. Having more medications on hand than needed increases the chances of taking the wrong one.
- Consider new technology-based services that remind seniors when to take their medications.
If Your Loved One Is in a Nursing Home
When nursing homes are short-staffed, there is a greater chance rushed employees will make mistakes when dispensing medications, including:
- Administering the wrong medication.
- Giving medication to the wrong patient.
- Administering the wrong dosage, either too much or too little.
- Skipping a required dose or giving it at the wrong time.
- Improperly administering the medication.
- Neglecting to properly monitor the patient.
Additionally, the nursing home administration might fail to even have the needed medications on hand. In the worst-case scenarios, staff may steal medications or administer medication without a doctor’s order.
Nursing Home Attorney in Los Angeles
If you ever suspect an injury resulting from a medication mistake, contact a nursing home attorney at Garcia & Artigliere. Call 1-800-281-8515 for a free consultation.