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Types of medication errors in nursing homes

Medication errors happen. No one is perfect, and this includes the staff at a nursing home. Typically, though, experts note that the error rate should be below 5 percent, and the staff should work hard to keep it as low as possible. After all, the residents expect a certain level of care and have a right to a healthy living situation. The staff could be liable when negligence violates this right.

These errors can occur in many different ways. Of course, one of the main ones that people are wary of is being given the wrong medication. Medications for two people could accidentally be switched, for example, putting them both in harm's way.

It's also dangerous to be given too much -- or, in some cases, too little -- of a medication. Many people in nursing homes are on multiple medications and taking many pills during the day. They may also have cognitive disorders that make it hard for them to keep track of what they have and have not already taken. They count on the staff to make sure they get the right amount, at the right time.

Administration errors can also be problematic. Some medications are supposed to be taken with food. Others need to be shaken before being administered. Still others are composed of pills that need to be taken whole and not crushed. When guidelines like this are ignored or forgotten, patients can see adverse effects.

Do you have a loved one who was harmed in a nursing home due to a medication error? If you think the staff was negligent in allowing it to happen, you and your loved one may be able to seek compensation.

Source: Nursing Home Families, "Medication errors in the nursing home," accessed Nov. 18, 2016

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