Medication Errors and Nursing Homes

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nursing home patient taking medication with water

Families for Better Care recently gave Kentucky a “D” grade for the overall care provided to its nursing home residents, including the elderly. The advocacy group found “widespread” abuse and neglect of residents. Mismanagement of medication is one of the leading reasons why Kentucky nursing homes have earned this poor reputation.

The failure of a nursing home to have a carefully planned and supervised system of administering medication to patients can have disastrous consequences. Residents may suffer serious illness or death due to medication errors.

If you believe that your loved one was harmed due to medication mistakes at his or her nursing home, you deserve a thorough review of your case. The Becker Law Office is ready to help you. Contact us today. We can provide a free consultation, learn more about your case and outline the steps we can take to seek justice for you and your loved one.

What Medication Errors Occur in Nursing Homes?

According to a study recently published in the JAMDA-Long Term Care journal, medication errors in nursing homes most often involve analgesics, or painkillers such as Tylenol and aspirin, as well as sedatives.

The study found that nursing home medication errors also commonly involve:

  • Anxiolytics/sedatives/hypnotics
  • Antidiabetic agents
  • Anticoagulants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants

  • Laxatives
  • Ophthalmic preparations
  • Antipsychotics
  • Diuretics

The errors made in administering these medications commonly are:

  • Giving the wrong type of medicine
  • Giving the wrong dose of medication (too much or too little)
  • Failing to follow the correct time schedule or to administer the medication at all
  • Using the medication as a way to restrain a patient (called “chemical restraints”)

If your loved one has suffered harm from any of these types of medication errors, it will be important to contact authorities right away and to speak with an experienced attorney about protecting your loved one’s legal rights.

Why Do Medication Errors Occur in Nursing Homes?

Medication errors may occur in nursing homes due to mistakes made by individual staff members. However, in too many cases, the medication error reflects systemic problems.

Nursing homes owe residents and their families a duty to hire staff without a history of drug abuse or other criminal offenses. The failure to conduct proper background checks can lead to staff members who may steal or sell drugs that are otherwise intended for residents.

The operator of a nursing home must also provide proper training to staff members on how to administer drugs such as analgesics or laxatives. For instance, staff members should know the proper dosages to administer and how to avoid dangerous drug interactions.

The home must also have a system or policies in place for administering medication and make sure that staff members are properly supervised. The failure to detect staff members who are failing to follow established medication protocols is inexcusable.

What Can You Do About Nursing Home Medication Errors?

As a family member, you can keep a list of the medications that your loved one has been prescribed. You can also keep tabs on when and how much medication should be administered.

If you suspect that your loved one has been harmed by mismanagement of his or her medication, you can ask the nursing home for a full accounting and explanation.

If you are not satisfied with the nursing home’s response, you can and should take additional steps. You can contact law enforcement and state agencies that oversee the safety of nursing home residents.

You can also contact Becker Law Office. We will take immediate steps to address the issue, including the pursuit of a personal injury or wrongful death claim that would seek to hold a negligent nursing home staff member and/or operator responsible for the harm caused.

Contact Our Nursing Home Medication Error Attorneys

The Becker Law Office can provide the skill, experience and resources that are needed to help those who have been harmed by medication errors in nursing homes. Contact us today by phone at (502) 333-3333 or through our online form. We will explain the steps we can take to pursue a proper settlement or verdict on your behalf. We serve clients in Kentucky as well as in Indiana and Tennessee.

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