The High Cost of Nursing Home Medication Errors
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Nov 16, 2015 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Medication errors are surprisingly common in nursing homes, and many of them occur repeatedly and go unnoticed and unreported. When a patient does not receive the appropriate medication, is given the wrong medication or is given the wrong dosage of a medication, serious injuries can result.
In nursing home facilities, these types of errors are most common. Often patients are taking several medications, making it difficult for the staff to continually keep track of all of the medications they are taking and to monitor for any adverse drug events. Staff and doctor mistakes also lead to serious incidents of medication error.
Causes of Medication Errors
A number of factors can contribute to a patient receiving the wrong medication or the wrong dosage.
- Approximately 63 percent of errors are a result of the wrong dosage being administered.
- About 83 percent of errors occur when a nursing home fails to effectively monitor a patient for adverse side effects from interactions with other drugs or from overdose.
- Twenty-two percent of prescribing doctors fail to take into account the possible drug interactions that could occur with the medications a patient is already taking.
Due to the fact that 68 percent of nursing home residents are taking nine or more medications and 32 percent are taking more than 20 medications, the likelihood of an error is greatly increased. Nursing home staff and doctors must take extra care to prevent medication errors.
The Cost of Errors
The average cost of an adverse drug event in which a patient is admitted to the hospital is between $1,900 and $2,600. Hospitals can face up to $4 billion in added costs for these types of injuries over the course of a year. The cost for a nursing home is even greater: facilities across the country endure an annual cost of $7.6 billion for medication errors. Ambulance costs add an additional $76.6 billion.
The cost of an adverse drug event is great for everyone involved. What is most shocking about all of these numbers is that these incidents are preventable with appropriate attention and care by nursing home staff and doctors.
Studies show that although these errors cannot be prevented entirely, one in four adverse drug events is preventable.
Nursing home negligence is a serious problem. If your loved one has suffered from a medication error, we can help. Our nursing home abuse lawyers are dedicated to defending the rights of the elderly and can help you get the compensation you deserve.