Nursing Home Medication Errors

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities exist to meet the needs of seniors when they can no longer live independently, and their care requirements exceed the capabilities of family members. Sadly, sometimes nursing home administrators and staff members fail to meet the required standard of care, including making serious and even deadly medication mistakes. A study of 25 North Carolina nursing homes self-reported 631 medication mistakes in a single year, with eight percent considered serious errors with impacts requiring medical intervention or monitoring. These preventable errors can cause great harm to seniors and devastation to their loved ones.

Common Medication Mistakes in Nursing Homes

Most seniors take multiple medications to maintain their health, address long-term issues, and treat age-related medical conditions. When nursing home staff members fail to uphold their duty to accurately dose and administer prescribed medications to the residents in their care, it’s an act of negligence that leaves them liable for damages. More importantly, it causes harm to those we’ve entrusted with their care. Common medication errors in nursing homes include the following:

  • Administering unprescribed medications to a patient
  • Administering the wrong dosage of a patient’s medication
  • Administering a medication to the wrong patient
  • Using an improper medication delivery method like having a patient swallow a medication intended for absorption on the tongue)
  • Administering expired medications
  • Failing to administer medications at the proper time
  • Administering new medications without consent
  • Cutting, slicing, or splitting tablets that shouldn’t be cut
  • Incorrect documentation of administered medications
  • Improperly using a feeding tube or IV for administering medications 

As many as 27% of elderly nursing home residents experience medication mistakes, often with serious results. When medication mistakes occur, it’s an act of negligence on the part of the nursing home. 

Serious Consequences of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

Medication errors can cause serious and even deadly consequences to nursing home residents including the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Adverse drug interactions
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Respiratory distress
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Brain damage
  • Over-sedation
  • Stroke
  • Hemorrhage
  • Hypotension
  • Coma
  • Death

The average nursing home resident takes a regimen of seven to eight medications daily. Administering the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of medication to a resident can cause dizziness and increase the risk of a fall with serious consequences. 

Medication mistakes are preventable when nursing homes properly train and supervise staff members, caregivers follow proper procedures, and documentation occurs correctly. 

nursing home medication error in oklahoma city

Negligence or Medical Malpractice in Nursing Home Medication Mistakes?

When a nursing home fails to properly manage a resident’s medication regimen, it’s liable for the victim’s damages like medical expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, and wrongful death compensation. Negligence is the most common cause of medication errors, but some medication mistakes are medical malpractice, for instance, the following types of medication errors result in medical malpractice lawsuits:

  • Medication diversion, or intentionally diverting or stealing a resident’s medication
  • Ignoring or changing a medical professional’s medication order
  • Medication borrowing, or taking one resident’s medication to give to another due to shortages
  • Inadequate medication management that results in not having the correct medications available
  • Intentionally over-medicating a patient to make them easier to care for

An attorney can advise a resident or their family as to the best way forward to recover compensation for a medical mistake.

Call A Nursing Home Negligence Attorney for a Consultation

If you or your elderly loved one suffered from a medication mistake in a nursing home, your family could recover compensation and justice. A skilled nursing home abuse lawyer in Oklahoma City can help you understand the nursing home’s obligations and your right to compensation.