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Are Antibiotics Being Used Correctly in Nursing Homes?

In September of 2015, the CDC advised nursing homes to be more proactive at protecting the residents of their facilities nationwide. Nursing facilities may prescribe the wrong medications or may prescribe the right medications but the wrong dosage or duration. Unfortunately, incorrectly prescribing antibiotics can have severe consequences. However, even with the danger that incorrectly prescribed medication may have, nearly seventy-five percent of all antibiotics in nursing facilities are incorrectly prescribed.

Common Reasons Nursing Facilities May Incorrectly Prescribe Medication

Families trust nursing homes to take care of their elderly loved ones. Unfortunately, sometimes in the home where they’re supposed to be cared for, our elderly loved ones suffer physical, emotional, and financial abuse. One form of abuse in nursing home facilities is the improper use of medication. Medication errors can significantly worsen a resident’s condition.  Some of the most common medication mistakes are caused by:

  • Understaffing
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Confusion regarding administration
  • Incorrect transcriptions of dosages or prescriptions

Medication errors can be categorized into four types: knowledge-based, rule-based, action-based, and memory-based.

Knowledge-Based Medication Errors

Knowledge-based errors occur when a staff member doesn’t have enough information about the medication they are administering. They may also not have a patient’s complete medical history. The lack of information leads to misdiagnosis, which leads to incorrectly prescribed medications.

Rule-Based Medication Errors

Rule-based errors happen when employees neglect to follow protocol intentionally or unintentionally. This neglect may happen because a nurse is improperly trained, tired, confused about the rules, or has unclear prescription instructions.

Action-Based Medication Errors

Action-based errors are the result of employees having the correct information and instructions but making a mistake anyway. These types of errors occur when a nurse writes down the wrong prescription, picks up the wrong medication, or misreads the label.

Memory-Based Medication Errors

Memory-based errors affect the administration of medication. If a nurse administers medication to a resident once then forgets and does it again without realizing it, that action can have dire consequences. These types of errors typically happen because of overworked or fatigued staff.

How to Help Prevent Medication Errors in Nursing Facilities

Nursing facilities must take steps to prevent medication errors. Some ways they can help protect our loved ones from the consequences of incorrectly prescribed medication include:

  • Having complete patient information
  • Having a complete understanding of prescriptions
  • Adequate Communication
  • Accurate drug packaging and Labeling
  • Adequate medication storage
  • Educated staff

Staffing nursing facilities with educated employees who have the resources and information to care for their residents adequately is the best way to protect our elderly loved ones.

Consult with Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Dalli & Marino

At Dalli & Marino, we understand how emotional and scary it may be to suspect nursing home abuse. Our goal is to provide our clients with the best legal representation and counsel to help them through a difficult time. If you suspect nursing home abuse, you may have a claim to recover compensation for the pain and suffering your elderly loved one sustained. Consulting with our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys can help you navigate the legal processes.

Schedule a consultation with us here or by calling (888) 465-8790.

3010 Eastchester Rd, Bronx, NY 10469

66-50 Myrtle Ave, Queens, NY 11385