Why Do Medication Errors Occur in Nursing Homes?

January 20, 2023 Insights

Nursing Home

When we entrust the care of our elderly family members to a nursing home, we hope that they will be treated with the best medical attention during their later years. Sadly, this does not always happen. Many people are shocked to realize that their elderly relative’s health has worsened or, more distressingly, has passed away due to mistakes made by nursing home personnel.

What Causes Medication Errors?

At 97.8 percent, tiredness from a heavy workload was the most frequent cause of medication errors among nurses, while drug calculation errors were the most frequent among nursing students at 77.4 percent. Other factors contributing to medication errors included inadequate oversight of the health care process, not reporting mistakes, miscommunications between nursing home staff, too much work, too few nurses available to patients, and lack of experience that may result in wrong drug dosage. 

It may also include not warning patients of potential side effects, illegible or damaged medication labels from physicians, bad environmental conditions like temperature or lighting, administering drugs to the incorrect individual, and incorrect labeling or packaging of drugs. Medication errors in nursing homes can range from minor mistakes to serious negligence, which can have life-threatening consequences.

What Falls Under Medication Error?

Medication mistakes encompass providing a medication that is not in line with the prescribed time frame, incorrectly mixing the medication, prescribing or administering a drug that is not suitable for the patient’s condition, giving the wrong medication, and giving a nursing home resident expired medication. 

It may also include drug interactions, not providing the patient with the last few prescribed doses (underdose), prescribing the wrong dosage of the appropriate medicine, a caretaker leaving without confirming the medication was taken and using a medication without permission.

How Common Are Medication Errors?

Medication errors are a serious issue. These errors can have serious consequences, leading to hospitalization, amputation, and even death. The most commonly misadministered medications in nursing homes are insulin, anti-seizure medicines, diuretics, anti-coagulants, pain management medicines, and antidepressants and antipsychotics.

What Are the Consequences for Nursing Home Residents?

Medication errors can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. Patients may experience a range of reactions to a medication mistake, including rashes, worsening of existing conditions, physical pain, infection, emotional distress, tremors, coma, brain damage, heart attack, paralysis, stroke, low blood pressure, and even death. 

Adverse drug events can range from mild allergic reactions to anaphylaxis, increasing the risk of death by almost double. Furthermore, 9.7 percent of such cases may result in permanent disability.

Medication Error Lawsuits in Nursing Homes

Medication errors can be serious, so if you or a loved one experience any harm due to a medication error in a nursing home, it is important to speak to a lawyer. They can look into the relationship between the patient and healthcare provider, evaluate the level of care that the nurse was expected to provide, check to see if the standard of care was met, and investigate any negligence on the part of the nursing home staff that caused the injury. 

Finding a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If someone in your family has been injured due to medical negligence, you have the right to pursue legal action and seek financial compensation. Finding an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and fight for your rights is important. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you build a strong case and fight for the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

At Circeo Law Firm, our award-winning Kentucky injury attorneys will aggressively advocate for justice if you or a loved one were injured due to someone else’s negligence. Through our legal team’s passion, tenacity, and talent, we have helped obtain hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients through verdicts and settlements. If you need medical malpractice lawyers in Lexington, KY, we’ve got you covered! Get in touch with us and let us know how we can help!