When we hear about drug errors and medication mistakes, most people automatically assume that these errors are occurring in hospitals. However, medication errors take place in nursing homes all the time. In fact, 68 percent of nursing home patients take approximately nine drugs daily, according to Medicaid data. Shockingly, the rest of nursing home residents take about 20 different medications.
While it is common knowledge that many elderly people suffer from dementia and confusion, they aren’t the only ones who make mistakes with their prescription drugs. For those seniors living in nursing homes, they expect nursing home staff members to provide them with their daily doses of medication. Unfortunately, many nursing homes run short staffed and fail to properly give medications to their elderly residents.
Medication Errors in Florida’s Nursing Homes
Recently, an investigation by the Daytona Beach News-Journal revealed that over 40 percent of Florida’s nursing homes have been cited for medication errors over the last three years. Specifically, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited 43 percent of Florida nursing homes for drug errors.
Some of these prescription drug errors include:
- Giving a patient another person’s pills
- Doubling a resident’s medication
- Mixing up patients’ pills, causing dangerous reactions
- Entering a doctor’s prescription incorrectly into a patient’s medication record
- Intentionally overdosing patients
- Administering more than the required amount of anti-psychotic drugs
Nursing homes often are understaffed, staff turnover is high, and they lack the technology to accurately keep track of medication errors. Additionally, many nursing home workers are poorly trained and have no business dispensing medications to residents. Unfortunately, medication mistakes continue to be a problem in nursing homes because most nursing home workers are in a rush due to the fact that there is not enough staff working.
Unfortunately, prescription drug errors are not isolated incidents that occur rarely. Instead, medication mishaps in Florida nursing homes occur far too often and put nursing home patients at risk, said Brain Lee, director of Families for Better Care, a consumer watchdog group.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is important to review your family member’s care plan and medication chart to keep him or her safe from medication errors. If you know others who have their loved ones in a nursing home in the Sarasota area, we encourage you to share this information with them by posting it on Facebook.