Medication Errors at Nursing Homes in Illinois
Medication errors in nursing homes are a serious problem that can have devastating consequences for patients. These errors can cause harm to residents, such as adverse drug reactions, hospitalization, and even death. Each year, medication errors are responsible for at least 7,000 deaths in the United States, and nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable to these errors.
If you or a loved one have experienced a medication error, call the Noll Law Office today at (217) 414-8889 for a FREE consultation. Their nursing home abuse lawyers will provide personalized attention and aggressive advocacy to help you seek compensation for your injuries. With contingency fee arrangements, you won’t have to worry about paying fees unless they win. Don’t suffer in silence.
The Risk of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes
Medication errors occur when there is a deviation from the prescribed medication regimen. This can happen in several ways, such as prescribing the wrong medication, administering the wrong dose, or failing to provide it entirely.
Federal regulations are in place to ensure the safety of residents. These regulations include a requirement that medication error rates must be kept below 5% and that residents must be free of any significant medication errors.
These errors can have a major impact on the health and well-being of elderly residents and can cause emotional distress to their families.
How Do Medication Errors Occur in Nursing Homes?
Nurses and other caregivers must give medication to several residents simultaneously, which can lead to confusion and mistakes. In addition, residents in nursing homes are typically older adults with various health conditions, which can increase the complexity of medication management. This complexity can lead to a heightened risk of medication errors.
- Staffing levels: A shortage of qualified staff can lead to rushed and incomplete medication administration.
- Inadequate training: Staff who are not properly trained may not be able to recognize potential medication errors or may need to learn how to administer medication correctly.
- Inadequate medication management systems: Lack of proper procedures for medication management can lead to confusion and errors.
Medication administration involves several steps where errors can occur, including prescribing, dispensing, and administering medication.
What Are Some Examples of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes?
Medication mistakes are a big problem in nursing homes and residential homes, and the elderly are at the greatest risk. One study looked at more than 188,000 attempts to give medication in these places and found that 90% of residents were exposed to at least one possible medication administration error.
Medication errors can take many forms, and some of the most common examples of medication errors in nursing homes include the following:
- Misreading or misinterpreting prescription orders
- Administering the wrong medication or dosage
- Failure to recognize drug interactions
- Administering discontinued medications
- Incorrect medication administration technique
- Poor communication and documentation
The potential consequences of medication errors include adverse drug reactions, hospitalization, and death. In addition, the quality of life of elderly residents can also be affected, and their families may experience emotional distress.
Failure to Provide Medication
Failure to provide medication as prescribed is a common medication error in nursing homes. This can occur due to a lack of staff or inadequate medication management systems. To prevent this type of medication error, nursing homes should implement systems to ensure residents receive their prescribed medication in the proper dose.
Contraindicated medication is another medication error in nursing homes. This occurs when a medication is prescribed that is not appropriate for a resident due to their medical history or other factors. Nursing homes can prevent this type of medication error by ensuring that all medications are reviewed by a healthcare professional before being prescribed.
What Are Some Common Injuries Resulting from Medication Errors?
Medication errors in nursing homes can result in a range of injuries and health complications for residents. Some common injuries resulting from medication errors in nursing homes include:
- Death: In severe cases, medication errors in nursing homes can result in the death of a resident. Overdoses, incorrect medication combinations, or allergic reactions can have fatal consequences. Additionally, medication errors can contribute to the worsening of pre-existing medical conditions which can lead to a resident’s death.
- Falls: Medications that cause dizziness, drowsiness, or confusion or medications that interact with each other to impair mobility and balance can lead to falls.
- Gastrointestinal distress: This can include symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and can be caused by medication given in the wrong dose or at the wrong time or by medications not properly monitored for adverse reactions.
- Dehydration: Excessive urination caused by medications or insufficient fluids to counteract medication side effects can lead to dehydration.
- Allergic reactions: Some residents may be allergic to certain medications, and if they are given those medications in error, they may experience an allergic reaction. Symptoms can range from mild, such as itching and rash, to severe, such as anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.
- Choking: Medication errors can also result in choking if pills are not swallowed properly or if the wrong type of medication is given to a resident with difficulty swallowing. This can be particularly dangerous for elderly residents with weakened or impaired swallowing reflexes.
- Cognitive impairment: Memory loss or confusion caused by medication errors can impact a resident’s ability to perform daily activities and communicate with others.
To prevent these injuries, nursing home staff should have clear medication administration protocols, including verifying medication dosages and checking for allergies before administering medication. Staff should also be trained in the Heimlich maneuver if a resident chokes on medication.
Prevention of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes
Preventing medication errors in nursing homes is critical to ensure the safety and well-being of residents. Creating a comprehensive healthcare plan for each resident, including medication management, can help reduce the risk of medication errors. In addition, staff training and education can make sure that nursing home staff are familiar with medication policies and procedures and are equipped to identify and prevent errors.
Another critical aspect of preventing these errors in nursing homes is effective communication and collaboration among healthcare providers. This involves establishing clear lines of communication between nursing home staff and physicians or pharmacists and involving residents and their families in the medication management process. Regular medication reviews and reconciliation can also help identify and address potential issues with medication regimens, such as drug interactions or adverse side effects.
What is the Importance of Comprehensive Care Plans in Medication Management?
Comprehensive care plans are crucial in medication management in nursing homes. They should include medication reconciliation, education, and medication administration monitoring. Examples of successful comprehensive care plans in nursing homes have resulted in improved medication management and resident outcomes.
How Can the Noll Law Office Help You?
Medication misuse in nursing homes can have severe and sometimes deadly consequences for elderly residents. The Noll Law Office understands the emotional and physical toll that medication errors can have on residents and their families. They are dedicated to helping victims of nursing home abuse, neglect, and malpractice who have been physically injured. If you or someone you know has been a victim of medication misuse or nursing home negligence, the experienced attorneys at the Noll Law Office can help. They will review your case and explain your rights under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.
Call The Noll Law Office at (217) 414-8889 for a free case consultation.