Reducing Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

There are many situations, which lead tomedication errors in nursing homes. If for example, a newly admitted resident arrives at a nursing home from a hospital, it is possible that the doctor who released the patient is not familiar with all the medications the patient has been prescribed.


According to the American Medical Directors’ Association, the “vast majority” of medication errors at nursing homes involve one of the following:

–Lack of assessment;
–Lack of monitoring for efficacy;
–Lack of reassessment for continuous need;
–Lack of monitoring for adverse drug reactions;
–Lack of recognition of adverse drug reactions;
–Attribution of adverse drug reactions to other causes.

OurSpartanburg personal injury attorneys are fully aware that the more medications a patient is taking the great the chance that a mistake will be made. Often individuals in the care of nursing homes are taking a great deal of medication the risk for caregiver missteps is great.

There are many causes of medication errors that can fall into one of two categories, ordering errors and monitoring errors. The first, includes the wrong dose being given to the patient – this error occurs in 63% of cases. In addition to the wrong dose, the failure of doctors and/or nurses to consider drug interactions causes an error 22% of the time.
In the case of monitoring errors the failure to monitor a patient at all is responsible for 83% of errors.

When an individual patient is affected by an error in the event is typically referred to as an Adverse Drug Event (ADE). Not only are adverse drug events dangerous for patients but they also cost hospitals a considerable amount of money.

The average cost per ADE is calculated to be about $2,595 per event. This means hospitals spend an additional $1.56 to $4 billion per year on ADEs.

Nursing facilities are affected even more drastically. It is estimated that ADEs cost nursing facilities about $7.6 billion per year.

There are many ways to improve the process of administering medication to lower the instance of ADEs. The truth is that the physicians are a key component to fixing the challenge reducing medication errors.

This may seem straight forward but unfortunately, doctors are not always open to education and other forms of intervention that may lead to a change in their clinical practices.

Aside from physicians, improving nursing skills and diligence could have a significant positive impact on the medication error problem. Furthermore, nursing skills assessments are critically important. Nurses need to be educated on the geriatric syndromes that result from an adverse drug event so they know to inform a physician immediately.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, contact Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation with our North and South Carolina attorneys. Call 1-800-887-1965.
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