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Important facts about common medication errors in nursing homes

One issue that might affect residents in a San Antonio area nursing home or retirement community involves medication. Many seniors take prescription drugs to maintain their health, manage symptoms and alleviate discomfort. Nursing homes and retirement communities must provide their residents with the care and assistance to ensure their daily needs and medical care are met. Unfortunately, some facilities fall short of this obligation, exposing their residents to abuse and neglect. 

Medication errors are a growing problem for nursing home residents. When nursing staff members are negligent with their residents’ medication, serious health complications and death are the likely outcomes. Take some time to consider the following information on nursing home medication errors and their impact on seniors. 

Contributing factors to medication errors 

Many nursing homes lack proper staff-to-resident ratios, training, safety equipment and medication handling protocols. As a result, nursing home seniors are likely to suffer exposure to any of the following medication mistakes: 

  • Administering wrong medicine
  • Failing to verify medication details with a pharmacist
  • Skipping doses or overdosing
  • Administering outdated drugs
  • Withholding medication
  • Stealing residents' meds for personal use 

In addition to the above errors, improperly documenting and failing to take measures to reduce adverse reactions also lead to medication abuse and neglect. 

Signs indicating medication negligence 

When a resident becomes a victim of medication errors, the signs are not always obvious. Loved ones who visit should pay close attention to residents' physical appearance, assess their mental conditions, and listen to the way they talk and what they say. It is also important to watch their facial expressions and body language for signs of distress, fear and abnormalities. By checking their medications and the staff’s administration procedures for loved ones, family members may be able to ensure there are no mistakes or issues that might cause harm. Any time a family member has suspicions about a resident's safety, he or she should document and investigate. 

Injuries that occur because of medication mistakes are preventable. They should never happen. Seniors are vulnerable to prescription errors, and often their family members are left to deal with the grief and consequences.

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