Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

By Peter DePaolis

prescription medicationsOne of the most important responsibilities of nursing home staff is making sure that residents receive the proper medication. Many elderly residents may need several different medicines at many different times of the day. Nurses and other healthcare professionals are in charge of administering these drugs as directed by the patient’s doctor. However, sometimes nursing home negligence can result in medication errors. These errors can cause serious internal injuries and even wrongful death.

If a medication error in a nursing home harmed your loved one, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for his or her injuries. Our team of nursing home attorneys has been helping victims of elder abuse and neglect for over 30 years. We can help you determine whether nursing home neglect or medical malpractice caused the medication error. Call our office in Maryland today to see if you have a case.

What are the Most Common Types of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes?

Medication errors are rarely a matter of a patient receiving the wrong medicine, although that can happen. Most often, the error is something less extreme but possibly just as deadly. Many medications, for example, come with specific instructions about when and how they should be taken. When a nursing home staff member neglects these instructions, the elderly patient may develop dangerous or even fatal side effects. Common types of medication errors in nursing homes include:

  • Not serving medication with appropriate food or drink
  • Neglecting to shake, mix or otherwise prepare the medication correctly
  • Failing to provide medication at the correct time
  • Crushing or cutting medication that specifies not to crush
  • Dosage errors; overdosing or under dosing
  • Failure to monitor the patient taking the medication
  • Administering expired medications
  • Administering medications that should not be taken together
  • Negligently skipping scheduled doses
  • Administering the incorrect medication

The reason for the occurrence of medication errors is often nursing home neglect or understaffing. Nursing home staff members may be distracted, inattentive or miscommunicate with one another when relaying important patient information. Nursing homes are also frequently understaffed, and excessive workloads may make employees more likely to neglect proper medication distribution.

What are the Possible Effects of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes?

An error in medication can be devastating to an elderly patient’s health. Many nursing home residents rely on several medicines to manage serious conditions, like blood, heart, and lung disorders. An incorrect dose or other error can cause these preexisting health conditions to worsen quickly. The results can include dangerous symptoms, a hospital stay, or even wrongful death.

Sometimes, a medication error can cause new symptoms or disorders. The wrong medication or dosage can cause a nursing home injury, poisoning, or severe allergic reactions. Other possible effects include malnutrition, dehydration, incontinence, delirium, internal bleeding, and even brain injury. All medication errors can negatively affect an elderly patient’s quality of life, especially if long-term conditions or wrongful death results.

Was Your Loved One the Victim of Medication Errors? Call Our Nursing Home Abuse and Errors Lawyers Today

If you suspect that your elderly loved one is the victim of medication errors in a nursing home, you should ensure that he or she gets medical attention right away. You may also want to consider moving your loved one to a different care facility. If your loved one was seriously harmed or suffered a fatal medication error, our nursing home abuse attorneys can help. Filing a lawsuit for elder abuse may help you recover compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering.

At Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P, we understand how painful a nursing home injury can be to both the victim and his or her family. There is no excuse for nursing home medication errors. We have the experience necessary to help you hold negligent companies accountable for the injuries they cause. Contact us online or call our Maryland law office today to schedule a free consultation.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.