RNs Are Better Able to Identify High-Risk Medication Errors

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Dec 17, 2015 in Nursing Home Abuse

registered nurse and patientAlmost 66 percent of adverse events, like falls and delirium, experienced by nursing home residents could be prevented through more accurate monitoring of the medications residents are taking.

In most nursing homes, both registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are responsible for monitoring and reviewing patient medications to prevent any discrepancies or adverse drug events.

Although RNs and LPNs both play important roles within nursing home care, a recent study from the University of Missouri suggests that their different skill-sets and education levels should require more differentiation in their roles.

Through a study of 32 RNs and 70 LPNs at 12 nursing homes in Missouri, researchers found that RNs are more likely than LPNs to identify high-risk medication errors.

Researchers presented each group of nurses with medication scenarios that included low- and high-risk additions, omissions and dosage issues. The nurses were then asked if they thought there was a discrepancy in the medications and if they would seek more information to resolve any apparent discrepancies.

The results revealed that, overall, RNs identified 62 percent of discrepancies, while LPNs identified 50 percent. In high-risk scenarios, RNs identified 72 percent of errors, compared to 49 percent identified by LPNs.

According to researchers, this suggests that RNs assess medication orders based on potential risk and resident safety, in contrast to LPNs who appeared to be more focused on completing the task than engaging in a comprehensive evaluation of risk.

Based on the results of this study, nursing home facilities must evaluate the contributions that each level of nurse brings to a role in order to provide the highest level of care for residents.

At Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice, S.C., we understand the complex care that nursing home residents require. That is why were are dedicated to defending the rights of residents who have not received accurate and appropriate medical treatment. Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers today if your loved one has suffered from a medication error in a nursing home.

Call 877-877-2228 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.

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