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Nursing Home Prescription Errors: Protect Your Loved Ones if They Are Victims of Prescription Error

The statistics regarding nursing home prescription errors are frightening. According to the National Institutes of Health there are over 50 million medication errors made in nursing homes every year, and over three million of those have the potential for having life-threatening results. Each year roughly 800,000 residents of a long-term care or nursing home setting are injured as a result of a medication mistake, and 100,000 die. The two most common medication errors that occur are delayed delivery of medication and delivering either the wrong dose or the completely wrong medication. The statistic that may be most frightening is the one that says that it’s estimated that only 1.5 percent of these mistakes are actually reported.

If you are a person who has a parent, grandparent, friend or family member residing in a nursing home then you have good cause for concern. Not only do these errors happen on a regular basis, but nursing homes have also been found to improperly medicate patients on purpose in order to keep them quiet. This “chemical restraint” happens all too frequently, with residents being given anti-psychotic drugs in order to minimize the outward expressions of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or simply frustration.  When residents are given medication incorrectly, whether purposefully or by accident, it is simply unacceptable and often dangerous. Nursing home residents are placed in care specifically because they are in a fragile state of health. A missed medication can have repercussions because what has been prescribed is often essential, and an incorrect medication can t cause harm to a system that is already in a weakened state.

There are many reasons why nursing homes make errors in the delivery of prescription medication. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) says that Americans who are 75 or older take an average of eleven medications over a one-year period. Multiplying that many medications per person by the number of residents being cared for in a single facility creates a need for high level administration of drug delivery, but nursing homes are notoriously short-staffed and undertrained.  Add to that the fact that medications can be mislabeled, or two medications with similar names can be confused, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Despite the difficulty inherent with the delivery of prescription medications in an nursing home, it is the responsibility of the home to prevent these errors from occurring. Failure to do so is negligence, and can result in serious injury or even death. If you suspect that your loved one is experiencing some kind of adverse reaction to a medication error it is essential that you seek medical attention for them immediately. When dealing with somebody in compromised health, a delay can be deadly. If you find that a medication error was made and it was the fault of the nursing home that you entrusted with your loved one’s care, seek help from an attorney immediately. Nursing home prescription medication mistakes can be costly in terms of your loved one’s health and well being, as well as resulting medical costs. The attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are here to help.

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