Medication Errors With Nursing Home Residents in New Mexico

overturned pill bottleNursing home residents often suffer from a variety of medical issues that are managed with various medications. However, if staff members do not administer these medications properly, there can serious or fatal consequences. Unfortunately, medication errors are quite common at nursing homes in our state and across the nation.

Below, we detail some of the common medication errors at nursing homes and why they occur. For instance, some staff members received inadequate training or did not have the proper credentials to administer medication to residents.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of a medication error at a nursing home or long-term care facility? Contact PKSD New Mexico to find out if the facility could be held liable for your damages. Our New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers have a proven track record in nursing home cases, securing millions for our clients.

Our firm offers free consultations, and we only get paid if we obtain compensation on your behalf.

Call PKSD New Mexico to learn more: 505-677-7777 .

Medication Errors That Commonly Occur at Nursing Homes

The medication errors discussed below can cause serious injuries to nursing home residents, in some cases putting them at risk for death. These errors can occur at various stages of the medication administration process, from prescribing to dispensing and monitoring:

  • Prescribing Errors: These occur when a healthcare provider prescribes the wrong medication, an incorrect dose, or a drug that could cause dangerous side effects after interacting with other medications the resident is taking. Prescribing errors are often caused by poor communication between doctors and nursing home staff, poor record keeping, or lack of knowledge about the resident’s medical history.
  • Dispensing Errors: These errors include giving the medication to the wrong patient or failing to provide the correct dosage. These issues could result from mislabeled medication containers, medications having similar packaging, or misreading the prescription. Nursing home staff might also overlook important instructions about how and when to administer the medication.
  • Administration Errors: Even if the correct medication and dose are dispensed, errors can still occur during administration. Common mistakes include administering the medication at the wrong time, using the wrong route (such as oral instead of intravenous), or failing to follow the steps written on the packaging. These errors can result from understaffing, inadequate training or inadequate procedures for dispensing medicines.
  • Monitoring Errors: After medication is administered, nursing home staff need to monitor residents for side effects or reactions. Failure to monitor effectively can allow adverse effects to go unnoticed, affecting the resident’s health. This oversight can be due to insufficient knowledge of potential side effects, understaffing, failure to observe residents closely, or failure to do a timely follow-up evaluation.

Other examples of medication errors at nursing homes include:

  • Failure to follow the recommended formula for feeding tubes
  • Having a resident swallow a pill that should be put under the tongue
  • Starting a new medication without telling the resident’s family members
  • Failing to check to make sure an IV is working correctly
  • Cutting up a pill that is meant to be swallowed whole

What Are the Effects of Medication Errors?

Medication errors can cause a range of injuries to residents, including physical and psychological injuries:

  • Aggravation of existing health issues, such as cardiac or respiratory issues
  • Adverse reactions to drugs, such as heart attacks, strokes, dangerous increases in blood pressure, strain on organs like the kidneys, anaphylaxis and more
  • Injuries from falls, as some medications cause weakness or dizziness
  • Cognitive decline
  • Psychological effects, such as distress, anxiety or depression

What Should Nursing Homes Do To Protect Your Loved One?

There are many steps nursing homes should be taking to reduce the risk of medication errors that could have severe consequences:

Clear Communication and Documentation

Ensuring clear communication among healthcare providers is essential. This includes accurate and thorough documentation of each resident’s medication regimen, health history, and any changes in their condition. Nursing homes need to keep up-to-date records that relevant staff members can easily access to ensure they are administering medication correctly.

Staff Training and Education

Regular training programs for nursing home staff on proper medication management practices are vital. These trainings should cover topics such as drug interactions, recognizing side effects, and the correct procedures for administering and monitoring medications.

Medication errors with any population are dangerous, but even more so with the elderly. Side effects can be much harder on the elderly, as they often have multiple health issues.

Double Checking

Establishing a protocol where at least two health professionals verify the correct medication and dosage can help prevent medication errors. This double-check system should be used especially for high-risk medications.

Regular Review of Medication Protocols

Nursing homes should conduct regular reviews of their medication management protocols. This includes assessing the effectiveness of current systems and making necessary adjustments based on feedback and the latest best practices.

Using Technology

Integrating technology, such as automated dispensing machines and electronic health records, can help reduce human error by ensuring accurate dispensing and maintaining real-time, error-free records.

If nursing homes do not take adequate measures to avoid medication errors, they could be held liable for the injuries that occur. Nursing homes have a duty to protect residents from harm and take reasonable steps to promote their health and well-being. Failing to uphold these obligations opens them up to legal action from residents and their loved ones.

Call Our Experienced New Mexico Attorneys Today

PKSD New Mexico is exclusively dedicated to advocating for the legal rights of nursing home abuse or neglect victims. Our attorneys have recovered millions on behalf of our clients and there are no upfront costs with our services.

If your elderly loved one has been the victim of a medication error or other form of neglect or abuse, we may be able to assist you.

Contact us today and let us help you determine your legal options: 505-677-7777 .

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