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Medication and Treatment Errors in Nursing Home Facilities


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It is an unfortunate reality that advanced age is often coupled with medical issues. As people age, it is highly likely that they will develop some kind of health problem. To address the medical conditions that come with aging, many elderly people are transferred to nursing home facilities. For the family of older adults, the decision to move their loved one into a nursing home is based on the hope that they will be able to receive knowledgeable, attentive care from staff. Most families cannot provide this type of care themselves, and rely on nursing homes to provide the elderly people in their life with proper medical treatment.

The staff members that so many families rely on can be negligent in their job responsibilities, and harm their patients by being careless. Medical neglect is a common issue in nursing homes, and one of the most prominent types of medical neglect involves errors in administering medication and other forms of treatment.

An elderly person who lives in a nursing home may need to take several medications each day to manage their health conditions. In addition to making sure their patients actually take their medications, nursing home care providers are also responsible for picking up prescriptions, administering doses, and monitoring side effects. Negligence during any of these important processes could cause harm to a patient.

Incorrect Medication Errors

A person who is given the wrong medication is not only denied the proper treatment of whatever health condition they are suffering from, but can develop additional issues as a result. Taking the wrong medication can allow a patient’s current symptoms to progress, as the medication they need is not being ingested. The other medication that is being administered may have its own side effects, and will be especially harmful when it is not being used for its intended purpose.

Overdose or Insufficient Medication

Receiving the correct amount of medication is just as important as receiving the correct type of medication. With too little medication, a patient’s ailment can progress or become resistant to treatment. A person who receives too much of a medication could suffer from the effects of an overdose. Overdoses are often fatal — elderly people with medical concerns are especially vulnerable to dying as a result of complications caused by an overdose.

Overdose symptoms vary depending on the kind of medication that was taken. The signs of an overdose may include:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Chest pain

  • Seizures

  • Pulse irregularity

Negligent Treatment

When a person is in charge of administering someone else’s medication, their responsibility extends well beyond just making sure they take the medication. Nursing home staff must keep a watchful eye on their patients to observe any symptoms that could be signs of a side effect, and must watch to see how the medication is improving the patient’s health (or not). A care provider who fails to give this attention to their patients, and respond properly to any concerns, is just as negligent as a person who provides the wrong medication.

Negligent nursing home employees can cause severe injury or death to the people they are supposed to be taking care of. If your loved one lives in a nursing home and receives medication, familiarize yourself with their treatment plan and look out for any unusual changes in their health. Contact Goodman Acker P.C. is you suspect that your elderly family member was a victim of abuse or neglect.

Our attorneys are available to discuss your case, at no cost to you. Call us at (248) 286-8100 or send us your contact information to get in touch with our team.