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How Medication Errors in Nursing Can Compromise Patient Safety

Medication errors in nursing homes are medical errors, and they are common enough that the medical field has set an error rate.

According to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide website, nursing home facilities must have medication error rates that are below five percent.

Medical Error Definition: What Is a Medication Error?

Medication errors are inaccuracies made during medication preparation or administration. Errors either fail to follow a doctor's order, pharmaceutical manufacturing instructions or the medical field’s accepted standards for the particular medicine's use.

Typically, a nurse or nurse staff member will administer medication through a med pass, which means pushing a cart from resident to resident to dispense the medication. Depending on the states requirements, an unlicensed nursing staff member may be able to dispense medication under a nurse's general supervision. However, some states have stricter regulations, and nurses must directly dispense the medication.

What Are Some Medication Error Examples?

The following examples are the ways that administering medication can result in error:

Of course, more obvious medication errors would involve dispensing the wrong medication, giving the wrong dosage or failing to administer the medication to the patient at all.

If your loved one was harmed due to a medication error, we hope this information helps you to recognize it and get in touch with us.

Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP has extensive experience handling forms of medical malpractice such as medication errors in nursing homes. By discussing your situation in a free consultation, you can find out about the prospects of pursuing legal action.

New York State Laws on Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse often occurs due to understaffing or occurs with nursing homes that hire individuals who are unqualified or inadequately trained. Underlying reasons can be that the nursing home is trying to cut financial corners instead of providing quality care.

In addition to nursing home abuse, elder abuse in general is also a widespread problem. According to the New York State website, estimates show that between 1 million to 2 million Americans who are age 65 or older have been subjected to elder abuse through injury, exploitation or mistreatment by someone. The frequency of elder abuse ranges between two and 10 percent based on surveys and the type of research conducted. Research also shows that for every one case of abuse that is reported, five other cases go unreported.

What Signs Should You Look Out for Regarding Nursing Home Abuse?

The New York State Bar Association lists the following as possible signs of elder abuse:

Medication errors are also a form of nursing home abuse. When staff are incompetent and dispense medication to the wrong resident, give the wrong dosage or provide the medication at the wrong time, it can harm the elderly person. Medicinal or physical restraints when used unreasonably can also be a form of abuse for the elderly.

Seek legal counsel as soon as possible if believe your loved one has been seriously injured as a result of nursing home abuse. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss the injury and the prospects of taking legal action.

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