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  4.  | Drug mistakes in nursing homes put older adults at risk

Drug mistakes in nursing homes put older adults at risk

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Nursing Home Neglect And Abuse

Complicated medication regimens are often part of getting older. People may need medication to control their blood sugar and their blood pressure. They may need to take multiple different medications every day. The more medical challenges someone faces, the more important proper administration of medication becomes.

Consistency is important when taking medications. So is proper timing, as mistakes regarding when someone takes their medication to lead to an unintentional overdose or less treatment effectiveness overall. Mistakes with medication can endanger an older adult’s health.

When an older adult struggles to properly manage their own medical needs, moving them into a nursing home may seem like a reasonable solution. Unfortunately, medication errors do occur with some frequency even in professional nursing home settings.

Workers spread thin can easily make mistakes

There are many demands on the average nursing home worker during any given shift. They need to respond on demand to the needs of residents as they arise. They need to engage in basic supportive care, such as helping people get in and out of bed. They may also need to administer medication to dozens of people every few hours.

It is easy for an overworked employee to lose track of time and delay administering medications. They could also become distracted while passing out medications due to questions or alarms going off. All too often, nursing homes have non-licensed workers managing medication distribution, theoretically under the supervision of a nurse or other employee. All of these factors likely contribute to the increase in reported medication errors at nursing homes in recent years.

Nursing home workers can and do dispense the wrong medications, miss doses or give patients medication too close together, possibly leading to overdose risk. Such medication errors occur with alarming frequency and can potentially endanger the lives of residents.

Mistakes when administering drugs can reduce the efficacy of treatment and cause a host of secondary consequences. Someone who has been administered the wrong drug could have an allergic reaction or might experience a drug interaction with other medication they take. Holding a nursing home accountable when medication errors impact the health of residents can help families to obtain justice and possibly inspire better care standards.