Nursing Facilities Have Frequent Errors in Administration of Medication

The researchers observed medical staff in nursing homes giving medication to 127 clients over a period of time and noted 428 errors, or 21.2 percent of the total administrations of medication.

Another study, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacology, found that repeat mistakes were common in nursing homes and had a greater chance of causing harm to the patient than one-time events.

Medication errors can occur when medical staff give the wrong medication, fail to administer the drug, or fail to follow the doctor’s instructions in administering the medication. Residents of assisted living facilities may be even more vulnerable, because medications are often administered by non-nursing staff.

When medical staff at a nursing home make errors in administering medications, the effects can be extremely harmful for the patient’s health, and may even be life-threatening. Studies have found that drug errors often involve high-risk medications such as hypoglycemic agents and anticoagulants. For Americans age 75 and older, it is typical to take an average of more than 11 medications over the course of a year, making accurate administration extremely important. This type of nursing home neglect often leads to lawsuits against nursing facilities for negligence and medical malpractice.

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