Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that all of their residents receive the proper medication at the correct time throughout the day. One of the primary reasons that families place their elderly loved one in a nursing home revolves around their senior’s need for care and proper attention. Any delivery of the wrong patient’s medication to an elderly resident of a nursing home is a completely preventable error.
The consequences of such an error can result in catastrophic injuries or even death. If you feel your elderly loved one suffered injuries as a result of receiving another resident’s medication, you may have the right to legally pursue justice on their behalf.
Dangers of Wrong Medication
Results published from a study in BMC Geriatrics demonstrate that nursing home residents often receive incorrect medication. Any medication that an elderly nursing home resident receives incorrectly can lead to serious injuries or death.
First, those residents need to receive their correct medications in the correct dosages in order to ensure their continued health. A heart patient needs their heart medication, and a diabetic needs their insulin. If their medication is incorrectly delivered to a different resident in the nursing home, they will likely suffer from some sort of ill-effect as a result of not receiving their medication.
Additionally, the resident that receives a delivery of the wrong patient’s medication may suffer from adverse complications and side effects or even have a reaction due to the interaction with the medication they currently take.
Delivery of Wrong Patient’s Medication and Nursing Home Neglect
One of the primary functions of a nursing home is to prepare and administer medications to elderly residents. In fact, many families are unable to stay at home with their loved ones due to work and school obligations and place their family members in a nursing home simply to ensure that they receive their proper medication at the correct time.
Stringent requirements should always exist regarding the preparation and administration of medications to nursing home residents. In fact, every nursing home should follow the standards created and established through the Nursing Home Reform Act, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Quality and Safety in Health Care published an article that lists a few preventative measures for nursing home patients receiving the wrong medication. Some of these tactics include the following:
- Medication should always have correct labels with the nursing home resident’s name, dosage amount, and dosage times.
- Caregivers should always double-check that the medication and dosage are correct.
- Residents should have the ability to receive documentation and information regarding their prescription medications.
- In some cases, several different nursing home staff employees will work to prepare and distribute medications to nursing home residents. Clear communication should always occur to ensure that all residents receive the correct medications in the correct dosages.
- Nursing home staff employees should receive support from management, providing them with adequate time, minimal distractions, and proper lighting to ensure that they handle the preparation and distribution of medications appropriately.
- The nursing home should always have appropriate staffing, as understaffing may lead to mistakes and errors with respect to medications and care of elderly residents.
Intentional Delivery of Wrong Patient’s Medication as a Form of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home employees may deliver the wrong patient’s medication to a resident simply in error, which would give rise to a possible nursing home neglect case. There are also some situations in which a nursing home employee will make the decision to intentionally deliver the wrong medication to a patient in order to calm, control, or immobilize them.
Some elderly residents of nursing homes suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. These patients can easily suffer from confusion, which may translate into aggressive behavior. With nursing home staff employees feeling overwhelmed and unable to manage their residents due to understaffing or other reasons, they may make the decision to distribute the wrong medication to a patient intentionally, such as an antipsychotic medication or muscle relaxer in order to chemically control their behavior.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the abuse of antipsychotic medications to calm residents in nursing homes occurs regularly. If you feel your elderly loved one suffered from any injuries as a result of being chemically controlled against their will, and without a physician’s orders, you may have the legal right to pursue justice on your senior’s behalf.
Consider a Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorney
If your elderly loved one suffered injuries in a nursing home, consider discussing your case with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. You can learn how a nursing home neglect and abuse attorney may be able to help you pursue justice on behalf of your loved one. Contact us at (800) 842-6336.