Medication errors

Medication errors in nursing homes are a serious and unfortunately common issue that can have devastating consequences for residents. Here are some key points about medication errors in nursing homes:


A. Medication errors refer to any mistakes made in prescribing, dispensing, or administering medications to residents. Common types include:


- Giving the wrong medication or wrong dosage[1]

- Giving medications at the wrong time[2]

- Administering medications incorrectly (e.g. intravenously instead of orally)[2]

- Failing to review potential drug interactions or side effects[3]


B. Causes of Medication Errors


- Staff fatigue and overwork due to understaffing[2]

- Lack of training or inexperienced staff[2] 

- Poor medication management systems and documentation[4]

- Not reviewing patient medical histories or allergies[3]


Medication errors can lead to serious harm like worsening medical conditions, increased medical costs, and even death for nursing home residents.[3] Residents who are overmedicated may experience severe side effects like dizziness leading to falls and injuries.[1]


Nursing homes have strict regulations they must follow regarding ordering, storing, administering, and monitoring medications.[4] When these standards are not met due to negligence, nursing homes can be held liable through medical malpractice lawsuits.[3]


To prevent errors, nursing homes need proper staffing levels, training, medication management systems, and policies in place.[2][4] Reviewing each resident's medication regimen monthly by a pharmacist is also required.[4]