Medication Errors can Lead to Elder Abuse

Friday, October 13, 2017

Elderly people living in nursing homes, as well as their families, trust these facilities to provide adequate care and administer the right medications to improve their deteriorating health. But this is not always the case. In California, these facilities are required by law to properly administer, store, and monitor these medications. Notwithstanding the legal requirements, medication errors are common in many nursing homes throughout the state and nation. This constitutes elder abuse and it should be reported right away. Hiring a Ventura County elder abuse attorney to handle these cases can be very advantageous as these attorneys understand the laws surrounding these adverse circumstances.

Medication standards

Nursing homes are required to have a medication rate of less than 5%. Although some minor errors are inevitable, these facilities are responsible to avoid these medication errors and ensure that the safety of their patients is their top priority. Medication errors occur when the accepted standards for the administration of the medication are not followed or when the medication is not administered according to the manufacturer’s instructions or doctor’s order.

Administering the medication

In most of these facilities, these medications are provided through a process called a med pass. Which can only be completed by licensed nurses? The nurse uses a cart and administers the medication to each resident according to doctor’s orders. Med passes generally take about 5 hours to complete. Organizing these medications and properly documenting them may take several hours as well.

Common medication errors

Some examples of medication errors commonly happening in nursing homes include:

  • Cutting a pill instead of splitting it. Some pills can’t be crushed.
  • Providing the wrong liquids with medications. Each medication has particular instructions about how many liquid patients should take medicine. There are times when residents don’t drink enough liquid and the medication may harm them.
  • Inadequate food is provided with the medication. Some medications may require the patient to take it without food while other medications require the patient takes it with food.
  • Some of these medications need to be mixed. When this medication is not mixed according to the instructions, there is a risk of administering the wrong amount of the medication.
  • Errors when administering eye drops. They should be applied directly to the eye and the nurse should wait about 5 minutes until the medication was absorbed. This becomes a medication error when not given properly.
  • Problems with swallowing sublingual medications.

There are laws surrounding the proper administration of medication at residential care facilities and nursing homes. When these laws are not respected, you should seek an aggressive advocate to fight for your rights. Medication errors may constitute elder abuse when it causes the patient pain or discomfort. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to the violation of your medication rights, contact us today and schedule your initial case evaluation with Ventura County elder abuse attorney J. Jeffrey Herman. He has decades of experience handling cases like yours. Elder abuse is wrong and it should be taken to court.

The Law Offices of J. Jeffrey Herman has a focus on personal injury cases in other parts of California.

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