Healy Scanlon Law Firm

What types of medication errors occur in nursing homes?


With America's population aging, many families face difficult situations when their love ones are no longer able to care for themselves. Many people wish that their family members would be able to continue to live independently, but this is not the reality for many in our state. When people notice that an elderly family member is no longer able to care for him or herself, they may wonder about their elderly loved one's long-term care options.

Many families rely on nursing home facilities to take care of their loved ones. People trust that these facilities will take appropriate measures to care for their loved one's physical, mental and medical needs. However, medical errors happen in nursing home facilities with alarming frequency, just like in other medical settings.

In particular, medication errors are common in long-term care facilities. According to one study, there were a variety of types of medication errors in nursing home facilities. In this study, more than 600 errors were reported over the course of one year. These errors occurred at 92 percent of the facilities involved in the study.

The most common error was an error of omission. This error accounted for 32 percent of the total reported errors. In these cases, residents simply were not given their medication. Another common medication error was overdose. An overdose of medication was responsible for 14 percent of the reported medication errors. Following omission and overdose was an underdose. Underdose errors occurred in seven percent of the reported error cases. Other types of areas found by the study included wrong strength, wrong product, and wrong patient errors.

No matter what type of medication error occurs in a nursing home facility, it could have devastating effects on the resident. When a medication error is responsible for causing injuries or death to a nursing home resident, that victim's family should carefully consider their legal options. In some cases, filing a wrongful death or nursing home neglect lawsuit may be appropriate. An attorney can give specific legal advice when medication errors occur.

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