Many elderly seniors require some form of daily medication. One of the reasons that family members make the decision to place their elderly loved ones in a nursing home rests on the fact that they believe they will receive their correct medications in a timely manner and in the accurate dosages.
However, understaffing of nursing homes and neglect can lead to medication errors resulting in catastrophic injuries or death. In more egregious cases, nursing home workers intentionally provide incorrect medications to elderly residents in order to chemically restrain their behavior.
If you believe your elderly loved one was a victim of medication errors in a nursing home, contact a Riverside medication errors lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today.
Administration of Medication in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes should have a standard protocol and procedure that establishes exactly how elderly residents should receive their medications, in what amounts, and in what manner.
Carts may be used to administer medications to all residents at specific times according to doctor’s orders. Before the medication arrives at the resident, the nursing home employee should make sure that the correct medication goes to the appropriate nursing home resident, and in the correct dosages.
When the medication is actually administered, the nursing home staff member should make sure to help the resident swallow the medication if necessary or provide food or drink, if required. If the nursing home staff negligently fails to provide the correct medications, in the correct dosages, at the correct times, an elderly resident may suffer serious injuries, medical complications, or even death.
Examples of Medication Errors
There are almost as many ways to incorrectly administer medicine as there are medicines themselves. Some examples of medication errors seen in nursing homes may include the following:
- Administering the wrong medicine
- Administering an incorrect amount of correct medication (too much or too little)
- Failing to provide necessary food or water with the medication
- Failing to ensure that the resident actually swallows the medication
- Failing to ensure that a resident takes the medication properly (i.e. swallowing a medication that should be taken sublingually)
- Administering expired medications
- Failing to carefully monitor a resident following the administration of medication resulting in choking or suffocation
- Failing to document the administration of medication
Your loved one might have suffered from a staff member’s error that is not listed here.
For a free legal consultation with a Medication Errors Lawyer serving Riverside, call (800) 794-0444
Medication Errors and Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing homes should have established procedures in place that ensure medication errors never happen. These preventable errors can result in serious injuries or even death to nursing home residents.
Some procedures that nursing homes should have in place regarding the distribution and administration of the medicine should follow the standards established by relevant governing bodies. Some of those standards could include that:
- Nursing home staff members should verify the medication is always going to the correct patient.
- Nursing home staff members should have access to accurate drug information.
- Communication should occur between nursing home employees, pharmacists, and physicians.
- All medication should receive clear markings and labeling.
- The equipment used to ensure medication dosages are correct should receive frequent inspection.
- Nursing home employees should work in an environment with minimal distractions and enough lighting to avoid errors.
- Nursing home employees should receive proper training regarding the preparation and administration of medications.
- Residents of nursing homes should receive information and documentation regarding their medications so that they can also check to make sure they are receiving correct medications, when appropriate.
When nursing homes fail to adequately prepare and administer medications to their residents, the results can be serious, life-threatening, or even deadly. Medication errors are completely preventable, and if your elderly loved one suffered injuries as a result of a medication error in a nursing home, you may have the right to bring a nursing home elder neglect lawsuit.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for help understanding your legal rights, and so we can help you obtain justice for your loved one.
Riverside Medication Errors Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Staff Members Sometimes Purposefully Overmedicate Residents
In egregious cases, the improper use of medications can result in the chemical restraint of elderly residents in nursing homes. Unfortunately, when nursing home workers remain overworked and understaffed, they may take disturbing steps to sedate nursing home residents, thus relieving the staff members from the burden of caring for too many elderly residents at once. The Human Rights Watch published a report affirming this unfortunate trend in nursing homes to overmedicate people with dementia.
In these cases, antipsychotics or muscle relaxers are improperly administered to nursing home residents intentionally, in an attempt to subdue more problematic residents. These medications oftentimes calm victims down or even immobilize them.
An even more disturbing trend is that these residents could receive prescriptions unnecessarily for antipsychotic medications in order for nursing home staff to subdue and victimize said residents. According to a report, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicated that one in four nursing home residents receive at least one antipsychotic medication.
If you suspect that your elderly loved one unnecessarily received medications while in a nursing home for chemical restraint, your case may rise to the level of elder abuse. These medications are strong and carry serious side effects and consequences.
You should alert the nursing home management (as well as any party the Illinois Department on Aging deems appropriate) immediately if you feel your elderly loved one was incorrectly given antipsychotic medications in error.
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If you suspect that your elderly loved one suffered injuries due to a medication error (or any other form of elder neglect) in a nursing home, having legal representation may help you hold the nursing home employee or facility responsible for their negligent actions.
To learn more about how you may be able to pursue compensation for your elderly loved one’s injuries, contact a Riverside medication errors lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today.