Elderly nursing home residents face danger at nearly every turn. From falls, to the improper use of restraints to bed sores, nursing home negligence can quickly become life-threatening. An area that commonly results in injuries or worsening conditions is the incorrect administration of medication in a nursing home. From incorrect dosages to incorrect medications, nursing home malpractice can have a severe impact on residents.
Numerous studies have been published attempting to isolate dangerous medication errors in nursing homes. One study found that up to 27% of all nursing home residents internationally had suffered from a medication error. Most of these medication errors can be boiled down to a lack of pharmacological knowledge. To a nursing home staff, this can result in factors such as:
- Lack of familiarity with generic names
- Lack of familiarity with drug interactions
- Confusing similar-sounding drug names
- Confusing similar-sounding drug packaging
Administration errors can include wrong patient, wrong dosage, wrong time and unknown adverse drug events.
What steps can be taken to protect elderly residents?
First and foremost, a nursing home must maintain the proper staffing levels and ensure the proper level of training. With an attentive, well-trained staff in place, residents stand a better chance of being taken care of. A negligent or poorly trained staff is more likely to make mistakes regarding medication administration, food schedules and proper hydration. In addition, having the right staff in place reduces the likelihood of physical injuries such as slip-and-fall accidents, transportation injuries or bed sores. If you notice your elderly loved one acting ill or reacting poorly to nursing home care, it is wise to discuss the matter with those who can provide legal guidance at once.