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Medication errors are a common occurrence in nursing homes and other skilled nursing facilities.

One in three nursing patients suffers from medication errors

A 2014 study published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that one in three nursing patients suffers from medication errors, and that at least 59 percent of these errors were preventable. More than half of all errors required the resident to be admitted to the hospital, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs.

Other studies have produced similar results. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacology called medication errors in nursing homes a “common occurrence,” while a third study reported that one out of every five doses of medication provided by nursing home staff involves a mistake.

Why Are There So Many Medication Errors?

As you would expect, nursing home caregivers are trained to avoid medication errors. Administering medications is a central aspect of their job, and it is one with potentially fatal consequences if they get it wrong. As a result, prior to administering medications, nursing home staff members should always:

  • Make sure they have the right patient.
  • Make sure they have the right medication.
  • Make sure they are administering the proper dosage.
  • Make sure they have the right form of medication (e.g., pill versus liquid).
  • Make sure they are administering the medication at the correct time to avoid interactions and side effects.

So, why do so many nursing home residents suffer from medication errors? For one, caregivers make mistakes. Whether due to lack of training or a failure to follow proper protocol, nurses and other staff members regularly overlook important steps and rush through processes, putting residents at risk.

Secondly, an alarming number of medication errors are intentional. Nursing home staff members have been known to improperly use medications to sedate residents and facilitate other forms of abuse.

Common Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

In performing the basic tasks outlined above, nursing home staff members also need to be sure to follow the resident’s doctor and the drug manufacturer recommendations. At Malman Law, we regularly see tragic cases involving medication errors such as:

Doctor and Pharmacist Medication Errors

Sometimes, medication errors occur before the medications make their way into a nursing home. In these cases, injured patients and their families may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against the prescribing physician or the pharmacist who supplied the dangerous drug. Some of these types of medication errors include:

Contact Malman Law about Your Illinois Medication Error Claim

With offices in downtown Chicago, Malman Law provides experienced legal representation for victims of medication errors in nursing homes throughout Illinois. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for elderly nursing home residents and their families.

For more information about what to do if you suspect a medication error in a nursing home, please call us at (888) 307-2051 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.aiopia.org/selection/.

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.naopia.com/selection-process.

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