Medical professionals have long turned to medication to manage health concerns that people can potentially control using other methods. Medication is a quick way for a physician to defer responsibility for a patient’s symptoms while still meeting their obligation to act in the best interests of that individual. Therefore, many physicians operate under a system wherein they prescribe a medication in response to someone’s medical complaints or concerns, even if it may not be strictly necessary.
This approach often means that as people get older and have more medical issues, they wind up on a cocktail of different medications. Those in nursing homes may be on a half dozen different prescriptions at once, sometimes more. They may rely on the staff members at the facility to administer their medication in accordance with physician recommendations. Unfortunately, many people in nursing homes experience preventable medication errors.
Errors affect a significant number of patients
Research into medication errors for those in nursing homes paints a grim picture of the standard of treatment for older adults in the United States. Research has found that as many as one in six older adults may be on inappropriate medication that they do not require.
Many others will experience an administration error in a nursing home on the part of the daily care providers, not the doctor prescribing their medications. Such errors actually occur with shocking frequency, sometimes multiple times a week per patient. Common mistakes include mixing up medications, failing to administer a medication or giving someone the wrong dose. Staff members administering one patient’s medication to someone else could also be an issue.
Such errors frequently don’t result in immediate medical consequences, but when they do, the impact can be severe. Medication errors can lead to anaphylactic reactions and dangerous drug interactions. Missed doses of medication may also mean that someone’s infection worsens.
When there are records of a significant medication error occurring at a nursing and an adverse outcome for the resident, that error may lead to a claim against the facility brought on behalf of the affected resident. As a result, seeking legal guidance can potentially help those who are hoping to advocate for a loved one in a nursing home in this way.