One of the ways that seniors suffer neglect in nursing homes is through medication errors. And errors in medication can be quite detrimental, even deadly.
What to Watch For
Any nursing home resident who takes a prescription medicine should be aware of the following challenges that might emerge:
- Giving the Wrong Medication Name: Some medications are spelled similarly; lengthy names can easily be swapped. If a nursing home is not checking and double-checking the prescription’s name, this is cause for concern.
- Administering the Wrong Dosage: Ask the nursing home what their process is for ensuring they give the correct dosage each time. They should have a checks-and-balances system to avoid and ideally, eliminate mistakes.
- Mistaking Medical History: Before starting a new medication, the nursing home should always be aware of the complete medical history. Ask questions that will reveal whether they have taken your medical history into account before prescribing a medication.
- Neglecting to Monitor New Medication Effects: When your loved one starts a new medication, ask the nursing home to state their monitoring system for side effects. Each medicine can come with a variety of side effects. Nursing home staff should always be mindful of watching for any ill effects.
- Administering Expired Medication: A nursing home may knowingly or unknowingly continue to serve medication that has expired. The Department of Health and Human Services has restrictions about expired medications. Be aware of this possibility and monitor the expiration date from time to time.
- Missing Medication Dosages: As a sign of neglect, a nursing home may miss dosages and forget to administer medications throughout the day. Consider the health benefits associated with the prescribed medication. If the improvements seem inconsistent, request the records on the dosages given.
Staying in close contact with your loved one in a nursing home is vital. Being in close contact with the staff is also essential. The more vigilant you are in building a relationship of trust among the entire team, the more comfortable you will be asking difficult questions. And this could be lifesaving.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.