Nursing Home Medication Errors
Nursing homes tend to be negligent in many areas, especially when giving residents their medication. Due to some nursing home’s poor management and employee addiction issues, nursing home medication errors often occur.
When residents do not receive the exact dosage of medication they are prescribed, they can suffer serious health issues. If this happens, the nursing home could be held liable for any damages or losses.
Navigating the legal process alone can be complex and confusing. With the help of a Chicago nursing home lawyer from Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we can determine the nursing home’s medication error rate and help you file a legal claim.
Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900 to schedule a free consultation.
Nursing Home Medication Regulations
A medication error occurs when the drug or dosage does not meet doctor’s orders or manufacturer specifications. According to federal regulations, nursing home facilities must have a medication error rate of under 5 percent as well as no specific instances where medication errors occurred. This may include an overdose, insufficient dose, or negligent preparation of medications such as crushing pills or failing to shake suspensions before use.
Types of Medication Errors
There are numerous actions that can result in medication errors. They include:
- Cutting or crushing pills that must be taken whole
- Not having enough food or liquids at the time the medication is taken
- Not shaking or mixing the medication
- Not administering eye drops properly
- Not administering the correct dosage
These issues are often caused by negligent hiring, communication errors, lack of training, illegible handwriting, distractions, shift changes, excessive workload, disobeying policies and procedures, medication dispensing issues, and more.
Medication errors that are caused by negligence may be considered medical malpractice. Medical malpractice can include any of the following:
- Poor management. Nursing homes often have 100 or more patients. Thus, managing the medications of each resident is no easy task. With employees changing shifts, lacking communication, or not following directions, there is plenty of room for disorganization. Amidst the chaos, it’s easy for a resident to receive the wrong dose or the wrong medication altogether.
- Ignoring orders. Nursing home residents are entitled to receive the medications they need in order to manage health conditions. Thus, staff members are not allowed to make any changes to orders. They cannot increase or decrease dosages or add or remove medications. If they purposely do so, this is considered medical malpractice, and they could be held liable and face serious penalties for any issues that occur due to unauthorized changes.
- Borrowing drugs from another patient. When it’s time for a resident’s dosage, the staff member may find that there is an insufficient amount of medication. In order to give the resident the proper amount, the employee may borrow medications from another resident using same medication. This can lead to many problems including poor record keeping, low medication supply, and missed dosages.
- Theft of medications. Nursing home employees have a wide variety of medications available to them. While these medications are specifically for the residents and their ailments, they often steal patient medications. Some nursing home employees struggle with prescription drug addiction and will support this habit by stealing medication from patients. Without their proper medication, patients can severely suffer.
If any of these issues occur, the employee and nursing home could be held liable. Facilities are responsible for the people they hire, and it is common for medication errors to be caused by negligent hiring.
If negligence contributed to health complications or the death of your loved one, the facility can be held accountable.
Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Lawyer Today
When nursing home residents do not receive the medications they need, they can suffer serious health issues. A lower dosage, or none at all, can cause their condition to worsen, while an overdose can lead to a complication such as severe organ damage or death.
Medication errors are a type of malpractice. This is a serious crime for the employees and nursing home facility. It’s important to hold these parties accountable for their wrongdoings, especially when it comes to the health of your loved one.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can review your case and help you file your legal claim. If your loved one has suffered health issues due to negligence, theft, or physical or emotional abuse you should take action immediately.