Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

Tragically, thousands of elderly Americans suffer from medical malpractice and negligent staff members inside their nursing homes. These negligent acts could include falls, bedsores, or medication errors in nursing homes. These medication errors in Chicago nursing homes could lead to a variety of life-threatening side effects and even death.

If your elderly loved one has suffered major health consequences from Chicago nursing home medication errors, you may have grounds to file an elder abuse lawsuit. The Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at Curcio & Casciato are passionate about fighting for justice for our vulnerable elderly population. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys can help you and your loved one recover the financial compensation that you deserve. Call 312-321-1111 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Chicago elderly abuse attorney today.

Chicago Medication Error Lawyer

Medication Errors in Nursing Homes Statistics

Recent studies claim that approximately 800,000 preventable drug injuries occur in nursing facilities every year. The most common types of medication mistakes were skipping doses (32%), overdosing (14%), and underdosing (7%). Lastly, the study claims that the preventable adverse events mostly occurred during medication administration and were mostly caused by human error.

Illinois Nursing Home Medication Regulations

Nursing homes have strict medication standards. The medication error rate in each nursing home must stay below 5%. A medication error rate above 5% indicates that nursing staff members compromise patient safety. As a result, the nursing home may receive a health citation on its federal inspection.

Of course, mistakes will always happen because it’s only human nature. That’s why this 5% limit still leaves room for minor medication mistakes such as adverse events from drug interactions, not following medication in the proper medication management process, administering drugs a few minutes outside of the nursing home resident’s schedule, etc. As long as these common medication errors don’t lead to serious adverse events – like injury, illness, or death – then staff members can get essentially away with it.

Nursing Home Pharmacy: How Does it Work?

Daily medication administration in nursing facilities is often called a “med pass.” During the med pass, registered nurses will spend several hours administering medications to elderly patients from a med cart according to their doctor’s orders.

Not only do these registered nurses give all nursing home residents their medications, but they also have to:

  • Ensure that the medication order is correct by checking the patient’s medical history,

  • Organize all medications on the cart,

  • Ensure that all the necessary tools for medication administration are on the cart (syringes, cups, other medication aides),

  • Prepare the prescribed medication for consumption (cut it, grind it, shake it, stir it, etc.),

  • And document that the elderly patients took their prescription medications.

This can be a tedious, full-time job, leading to a serious medical error.

What is An Example of a Medication Error in a Care Home?

The most common medication errors that occur in nursing homes are listed below.

In many cases, common medication errors in nursing homes stem from the failure of nursing homes to provide medication as prescribed, leading to significant health risks for residents. These nursing home medication errors can arise from systemic issues, staffing shortages, or oversight, severely impacting the well-being of those in care.

When a nursing home resident receives the wrong medication, it can lead to serious health complications, especially when individuals are on multiple medications. Such common medication errors raise the question: “Can you sue a doctor for prescribing the wrong medication?” In the context of nursing homes, the liability may extend to the facility responsible for the error.

Incorrect medication pass in long-term care involves errors during the medication administration process, which can include giving the wrong medication or dose. These medication errors in nursing homes undermine effective medication management and are a significant source of medication administration errors in a long-term care setting.

Administering the wrong dose or wrong dosage of medication in nursing homes is a prevalent issue that falls under common medication errors. Such mistakes when registered nurses or nursing home staff members provide medication can lead to overdosing or underdosing, potentially qualifying as nursing home abuse and raising serious concerns about medication management practices.

Improper administration of medications, including sublingual medications, can compromise patient safety due to deviations from proper medication administration protocols. These common medication errors in nursing homes highlight the need for rigorous training in administering medication correctly.

Administering prescribed medication at incorrect times can lead to adverse events, especially when managing multiple medications. Such timing errors are among the common medication errors in nursing homes that jeopardize the health and recovery of nursing home residents.

A critical aspect of medication safety involves ensuring that patients in nursing facilities actually take their prescribed medications. Neglecting this responsibility is one of the more common medication errors in nursing homes, with potential repercussions on patient safety and the overall management of a patient’s medical history.

It’s important to remember that residents and their families pay a lot for health care in nursing homes. Ensuring a patient takes their prescription medications is part of the medical care your family pays dearly for. While this is one of the most common medication errors in nursing homes, it should never be excused, not only for your loved one’s medication safety but also for the safety of other nursing home residents.

The use of unreasonable restraint in nursing homes, whether physical or chemical, can certainly constitute nursing home abuse in Illinois. Such practices must meet strict ethical approval standards and evidence-based practice guidelines to avoid being classified as common medication errors in nursing homes or violations of inclusion criteria for appropriate care, underlining the role of our Chicago unreasonable restraint lawyers in addressing these concerns.

chicago nursing home medication errors

Most Common Drugs Involved in Nursing Home Medication Mistakes

Certain medications will have more severe health consequences. Researchers at the American Geriatrics Society found that the following seven prescription drugs were involved in 28% of medication errors in nursing homes.

  • Lorazepam is one of many antipsychotic drugs provided to nursing home residents. More commonly though, it is used to treat seizures and epilepsy.

  • Oxycodone is a narcotic that doctors prescribe for moderate to severe pain relief.

  • Warfarin is a blood thinner that doctors often prescribe to prevent blood clots in elderly patients.

  • Furosemide is a diuretic that can treat edema, which is fluid retention.

  • Hydrocodone is an opioid that can treat pain and even excessive coughing.

  • Insulin is a hormone that can regulate a patient’s blood sugar. Diabetic patients often need to take insulin.

  • Fentanyl is another narcotic that doctors prescribe for severe pain relief. It has the potential to be incredibly addictive and can easily cause life-threatening side effects if a medication error occurs.

Why Do Medication Errors Happen in Nursing Homes?

The most common reason why nursing home residents endure some form of medication error is because of nursing home understaffing and poor training. Unfortunately, these issues in assisted living facilities can lead to a wide range of poor health care and poor patient safety – not just medication administration errors.

It may be no surprise to hear that being a nursing home staff member is physically and emotionally exhausting. Nursing facility staff members often work incredibly long hours for little pay and appreciation. This results in exhaustion, which can result in more medication errors in nursing homes that compromise patient safety.

Chicago nursing home understaffing typically occurs for the sake of maximizing profits. You have more money if you pay as few people as possible to do a job. These competing interests are sadly the mentality of many large chains that own nursing homes across the country, only bolstering financial support without comparing ethical considerations.

Medication administration in nursing homes is a long, tedious job. Without enough registered nurses to administer medication daily, nursing home staff members may feel forced to rush through administering medication and general medical care as quickly as possible without double-checking their work. Serious medication errors occur, and safe medication management isn’t a priority in the nursing home facility.

Another reason for medication errors in nursing homes is poor staff training for administering medication. Lack of training could be another result of understaffing. If nursing homes desperately need caretakers to administer medication, they may hire someone and train them as quickly as possible to get more hands on deck, even if those staff members don’t have proper knowledge.

Registered nurses and nursing home staff members must be properly trained before handing out and administering medications to our aging population. After all, many of these nursing home residents are alive due to their prescription drugs.

Patient Safety and Health Consequences of Medication Errors in Nursing Homes

Nursing home medication errors can lead to various short-term and long-term consequences for the resident’s health, depending on the type of medication error, risk factors, and other contributing factors. The wrong medication or wrong dosage of prescription medications could lead to a serious injury, such as:

  • Heart attack

  • Seizures

  • Coma

  • Stroke

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Headaches or migraines

  • Blood sugar or blood pressure changes

  • Respiratory distress

  • Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and panic

  • Dizziness, which can increase the risk of nursing home fall injuries

  • GI issues such as lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation

  • Death

The consequences of medication errors for the elderly are much steeper. Nursing home residents are more fragile and have more health issues compared to the younger population. Therefore, they have a far higher risk of suffering from both minor and severe health complications, such as a bad fall, when medication errors occur. Registered nurses and staff must pay close attention when organizing, managing, and administrating residents’ medications.

If your loved one fell because of medication errors occurring in a Chicago nursing home, your family may have a medical malpractice lawsuit for nursing home abuse against the nursing facility or the registered nurse, themself. Contact a Chicago nursing home falls attorney to learn more.

Improving Medication Safety in Nursing Homes

chicago medication error attorney

Enforcing an error reporting system in nursing homes is crucial for improving medication safety. A nursing home medication errors reporting system allows nursing homes to track the number of medication errors they make, provides a systematic review, and can help narrow down who caused the error in medication management.

Was it a doctor, a registered nurse, or a medical equipment malfunction? Lastly, this reporting system can help improve overall nursing home medication standards by allowing authority figures to take corrective action if they see potential for medical malpractice.

Most medication management error reporting systems require the following information for systematic review:

  • How much patient harm did the medication error cause?

  • What kind of side effects did the nursing home resident suffer from?

  • General patient information, including name, age, sex, medication information, patient’s medical history, cognitive ability, etc.

  • Medication error information: What kind of medication error was it? What kind of medication was involved in the error? When did it happen? How many times did it happen? What caused the medication error? Who caused the medication error? At what stage did the medication error occur(was it the prescribing, dispensing, documenting, or administering phase)?

Nursing Home Medication Errors Lawsuit

If a nursing home medication error caused your loved one to suffer major side effects or wrongful death, you certainly have grounds to file a nursing home medication error lawsuit. Even though medication management and medication administration errors do happen, these common medication errors should not be tolerated, especially if the medication errors in nursing homes greatly compromise the health of our elderly population.

Chicago elderly abuse attorneys at Curcio & Casciato are passionate about pursuing justice for those who suffer at the hands of negligent nursing home staff members. Our Chicago personal injury lawyer team can help you and your loved one pursue financial aid for medication error damages. Call 312-321-1111 to schedule your free consultation.

Is a Medication Error Considered Neglect?

There are many types of abuse in nursing homes, and any adverse drug events can be a sign of nursing home abuse.

If you suspect that your elderly loved one’s injury, illness, or death stems from nursing home negligence, you need the legal team at Curcio & Casciato on your side to pursue financial compensation. Our nursing home abuse lawyers have recovered thousands of dollars in settlements for our nursing home residents and their families. We can do the same for you.

If your loved one died because of medication errors in nursing homes, our compassionate Chicago nursing home wrongful death lawyers want to help.

Damages for Medication Errors in Nursing Facilities

medication errors in chicago nursing homes

Victims of medication errors in nursing homes could recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:

  • Past and future medical bills

  • Past and future physical therapy bills

  • Physical pain and suffering

  • Emotional distress

  • Diminished quality of life

  • Funeral and burial expenses if the medication error resulted in wrongful death

  • Punitive damages

Average Settlement for Medication Error in Illinois

The average settlement for medication errors in Illinois can vary widely depending on the case’s specifics, including the severity of the injury caused by the error, the impact on the victim’s quality of life, and the degree of negligence involved. Common medication errors in nursing homes, such as wrong dosage or wrong medication, can lead to significant settlements, especially when they result in long-term health complications or fatalities.

In Chicago, cases involving nursing home medication errors are taken particularly seriously, given the city’s large elderly population and the trust placed in nursing homes and assisted nursing facilities. When medication administration errors occur, the legal system in Illinois seeks to compensate the victims for their losses, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and, in some cases, punitive damages to deter future negligence.

Serious medication errors often result in larger settlements due to the profound impact they can have on an individual’s health and well-being. In Illinois, the emphasis on medication safety in litigation reflects a broader commitment to patient care and preventing avoidable mistakes in medical settings.

When elderly residents suffer from medication errors, such as receiving the wrong dosage of a critical medication, the consequences can be life-altering, and the legal response is correspondingly serious. The settlements in such medication error cases provide financial relief to the affected parties and serve as a critical reminder to nursing homes and healthcare facilities of the importance of adhering to the highest standards of care to prevent medication administration errors and other serious medication errors.

Chicago Medication Error Attorney

Our elderly population deserves the best health care from nursing homes in their final years. Tragically, not many nursing home residents receive high-quality care due to nursing home negligence. What’s even worse is that many nursing home residents can’t speak up about the abuse or neglect they’re suffering from due to cognitive disabilities, whether this is from physical nursing home abuse or common medication errors in Chicago nursing homes. This puts them in an incredibly vulnerable situation.

That is why the Chicago nursing home attorneys at Curcio & Casciato are so passionate about fighting for the justice of our elderly loved ones, especially concerning preventable medication errors. For more information on how our nursing home abuse lawyers can help you, call 312-321-1111 today. We offer a free consultation to all new clients.