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Nursing Home Negligence: Medication Errors

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2016 | Articles


Nursing home negligence comes in many different forms, from failing to help an individual live at a certain level of hygiene, to leaving them out of social interactions. One of the most significant problems that can arise in cases of nursing home negligence, involves errors with medication.

Typically, most nursing home staff administer medication during a “med pass” – the process used to dispense medication to home patients. During this pass, a nurse may use a cart to hold the medication as she or he moves to each patient according to a clearly defined schedule. Failing to organize this medication properly, sort it into the right quantities, or deliver it to patients at the correct times, are all examples of nursing home neglect.

Examples of Medication Errors

There are a number of ways in which nursing home negligence may occur in relation to medication, below are just some examples.

  • Crushing medication that should be taken whole.
  • Not providing adequate fluids with medications – often medications come with instructions to allow the patients to drink a certain amount of water when taking a pill or capsule.
  • Inadequate precautions regarding foods or antacids to be taken with medications – many prescription medications request that the patient take the medicine with or after food. Nursing home staff should ensure that patients are able to follow the instructions given.
  • Failure to properly mix medication – numerous medications used in nursing homes may require some mixing before they can be used by the patient. Without proper mixing, the nursing home staff may be placing the resident at risk.
  • Poor delivery of eye drops – some medicines need to be administered directly to the eye of the patient and the staff member must ensure that the drops make contact with the eye for a sufficient period of time.
  • Improper use of inhalers – nursing home staff must be prepared to shake and position the inhalers required for certain patients.
  • Allowing the patient to swallow sublingual tablets – many elderly patients struggle to use sublingual tablets. However, if the patient regularly misses a dose of a sublingual tablet, the elder’s medication will need to be changed accordingly.

Negligence Errors Regarding Medication

Perhaps the biggest issue that many nursing facilities have when it comes to reducing incidents of abuse and negligence is that they are highly understaffed. The less help members of staff in a nursing home have, the more likely they are to end up feeling overworked and exhausted, which can lead to poor performance and bad moods.

At times, anything from nursing home residents, to unexpected events, or even other members of nursing home staff may end up distracting personnel during the delivery of medication, and this can lead to errors. What’s more, the person giving the medication may also feel rushed, leading to mistakes.

For more information on nursing home negligence and the types of lawsuit you may be able to file, please speak to an expert at Makarem & Associates today, either email [email protected], or call 310.312.0299. Do not hesitate to consult with us, your consultation is at no cost.