The prevalence of medication errors in nursing homes is a concerning issue. Various studies and reports have highlighted the frequency of these errors and estimate medication errors harm over 1 million people every year – including nursing home residents.
In a nursing home, a medication error is typically a preventable event that occurs during the medication management process, resulting in inappropriate medication use or patient harm. These errors take various forms and are often examples of nursing home neglect.
How do medication errors happen?
Medication errors in nursing homes are often caused by the negligence of a specific person or persons – but facilities may bear responsibility for acts of negligence. They set the standards for medical care and may have instituted policies or processes that increase the risk of medication errors. Here are some common types of medication errors due to nursing home neglect:
- Mixing up residents. Staff may inadvertently administer medications to the wrong resident, especially if residents have similar names or room numbers.
- Incorrect dosage. The wrong dose can either result in the resident receiving too little of a necessary medication, leading to inadequate treatment, or too much of a medication, causing overdose or adverse effects.
- Missed doses. Failure to administer prescribed medications on time can lead to worsening of medical conditions or the medication being less effective.
- Wrong medication. Dispensing the wrong medication can be detrimental, especially if the medication given has potentially harmful interactions with the resident’s other medications or medical conditions.
- Medication preparation errors. Mistakes during the preparation of medications, such as incorrect dilution or mixing, can result in medication errors.
- Documentation errors. Inadequate or inaccurate documentation of medication distribution among residents can lead to confusion and potential errors in subsequent doses.
- Storage and labeling errors. Improper storage of medications or labeling mistakes can result in residents receiving the wrong medication. Medication with similar names or appearances can be easily confused.
Legal options after a nursing home medication error
When a nursing home’s carelessness leads to a patient’s injury or death, the victim of the medication error and their families may be able to pursue justice and financial compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other related damages. Every case is unique, so it’s in your best interest to consult a nursing home neglect attorney who can assess your case and explain your potential legal options. In general, options may include:
- File a nursing home neglect claim. Often, the first step in addressing a medication error is to file a nursing home neglect claim. An attorney can negotiate with the nursing home or its insurance company to resolve the claim. Through negotiation, parties can try to reach a settlement without going to court. A nursing home neglect lawyer can ensure the victim’s rights are protected and that a fair settlement is reached.
- Mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR). A neutral third party facilitates discussions between the parties to reach a resolution outside of court. Mediation can be a quicker and less labor-intensive way to resolve disputes related to medication errors.
- File a nursing home neglect lawsuit. If negotiations or alternative dispute resolution methods do not result in a satisfactory resolution, the victim’s family may choose to file a lawsuit against the at-fault nursing home. A settlement can still be reached after a lawsuit is filed, but if necessary, an attorney can represent the family’s case in a courtroom before a judge and jury.
Contact a Chicago nursing home neglect attorney
Claims and lawsuits involving medication errors in nursing homes can be complex. The most appropriate course of action will depend on the specific details of the incident and the harm it caused.
Consulting with an experienced nursing home neglect attorney is often essential to determine the right legal strategy. An attorney can guide the victim and their family through the legal process and protect their rights.
If your loved one is the victim of a medication error at a Chicago area nursing home, contact Ferrell Young, LLC for a free and confidential case evaluation. Your family can count on us.