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Medication errors in nursing homes

When someone becomes a resident in a New York nursing home, there are certain responsibilities that the care facility has. Unfortunately, mistakes happen in all healthcare facilities, and nursing homes are no exception. One of the most common errors relate to medication, and there are numerous reasons for that.

The New York State Government lays out specific rights that a nursing home resident has. One is to live in an environment that fosters respect, dignity and comfort. Another is freedom of choice to make their own decisions, including who may visit and when. Other rights include:

  • Proper and safe keeping of money and property
  • An easy-to-use procedure for complaints
  • Freedom from restraints and all types of abuse
  • Communication privacy
  • Be kept up to date about fees and services
  • Quality treatment and care

When it comes to treatment, Allied Academics reports that mistakes regarding medication is an ongoing concern for those living in nursing homes. In fact, error rates hover around 12% around the country. Nurses are typically the ones who administer medication to residents, and there are a variety of reasons why they make errors. Lack of pharmacological knowledge, such as their properties, doses and familiarity with both brand and generic names, is the biggest reason. 

Many of the drug names are confusing, and the packaging often looks similar from one medication to the next. Administering the wrong medication or the incorrect dose can be very dangerous, and healthcare facilities are working to increase knowledge and reduce these errors. Strategies may include on-site training, continuing education, collaborative learning activities and simplifying access to medication information. 

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