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Study Finds High Medication Error Rates in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are meant to be a place where you can put your loved one to be safe. You were probably given a wonderful pitch that included a professional staff, nice rooms and the latest technology ? all designed to care for your parent or grandparent. Unfortunately, a study published in the Journal of American Medical Information has found that nursing homes consistently make a significant number of errors related to providing care. This post will break down that study and how it may apply to you.

The study was conducted at three different nursing homes. The nursing staff did not know they were the subject of the study. The researchers observed the 2,025 medication administrations given to 127 residents and observed 428 errors, or 21.2 percent. The study specifically studied how a robot medication dispenser might work to reduce medication errors.

The study found that the pharmacy staff and robot operated error-free. All medications observed over the course of the study were properly dispensed, measured, assigned and packaged. But the researchers began to notice that errors would pop up once the nurses acquired the medication and administered it.

Many residents suffer from mental disorders and/or are unable to consume solid foods. This means that these residents need to be administered medications in very specific manners, to ensure that they are ingested properly. For example, residents with Alzheimer's and dementia must be observed by nurses as they take their medicine, to ensure that they actually ingest it. Additionally residents who cannot ingest solid foods need their medicine crushed.

But not all medicines can be crushed and the study noted that the nurses did not stay to observe medication ingestion. There were no serious (life-threatening) errors committed however all it takes is a single lapse in judgment.

If you believe your loved one was injured or did not receive proper care while in a nursing home or hospital then you may want to consult with an attorney. Nursing homes, like hospitals, are known to try and hide mistakes or errors from patients and family. Unfortunately, this may mean that you cannot get the information you need to care for your loved one. An attorney can help you get that information to allow you to make the best informed decisions.

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