Protecting the elderly from medication errors

Medication errors may not appear like a big deal at first, but one oversight can have life-threatening repercussions. For families with loved ones in Connecticut nursing homes, their concern about responsible medication distribution can create ongoing stress.

While nursing home staff should have adequate experience to understand the impact of medication on a person’s overall health, errors can sometimes happen. People who understand how to minimize these errors can help protect their family members and recognize signs of danger before it is too late.

A scary problem

Medication errors do not happen solely because seniors accidentally overlook instructions or have a memory lapse. Caretakers are also accountable for monitoring medication consumption. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the aged 65 and older category, a staggering 450,000 visits to emergency rooms across the U.S. each year result from an adverse drug reaction.

A medication error can happen because of negligence or oversight on the part of the caretaker or the person consuming the drug. Doctors and pharmacists are also to blame on occasion for prescribing incorrect medication or recommending an inappropriate dose. Medication errors can also happen when doctors fail to acknowledge other medications that a patient takes regularly that could negatively interact with certain drugs.

Reducing adverse effects

Families and caretakers can work together to prevent medication errors through proactive monitoring. Mayo Clinic suggests some helpful tips to help prevent medication errors including the following:

  • Maintain open and frequent communication with doctors
  • Understand the potential side effects of new medications
  • Understand dosing requirements

If families feel at all concerned about their loved one’s reaction to certain medications, they should immediately notify a doctor. Worsening health problems caused because of medication errors may cause chronic suffering. In these situations, families may choose to file a lawsuit.