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How common are prescription errors in nursing homes?

It is an unfortunate reality that medication errors are very common across the country. These errors are also common in nursing homes and can cost an elderly patient their life, as they are unable to quickly bounce back from an illness like a young adult can.

A medication error happens when the medication given to a patient differs from the one that was prescribed or the medication is being used differently than the manufacturer's instructions. Malpractice occurs when the nursing facility has either run out of the medicine and tries to substitute one medicine for another or medication is taken from one resident to give to another.

Prescription errors are commonly caused by staffing errors or during patient transfers. As a result, nursing home residents end up getting expired medicine, too little or too much of the prescribed medicine, medicine at the wrong time, incorrect medicine altogether or improper monitoring after the medicine has been administered. Studies found that 75% of nursing home residents reported that they were prescribed at least one potentially incorrect medicine. These errors are also common when a resident is being transitioned from one place to another, with a 13% to 31% rate of occurrence.

Nursing homes are tasked with the responsibility of looking after an elderly resident's health and well-being and, when this is not done, nursing home abuse and neglect might be a valid concern for family members. It might be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney for guidance on one's options in these types of situations.

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