Reportedly, about one in five nursing home patients are victims of medication errors. Facilities nationwide, including South Carolina, aim to keep the rate of medication errors below 5%. However, the percentages are significantly higher.
Adverse effects of drugs often follow harmful interactions of different medications and overdosing. Health effects often leave patients malnourished, dehydrated or delirious. It could cause incontinence, behavioral changes and fractures caused by falls. Errors could occur during any of the three stages involved in medication protocols.
Physicians could make three potential errors:
- Prescribing the wrong dosage
- Prescribing the wrong medication due to misdiagnosis
- Failure to consider existing drugs and potential adverse interactions with new prescriptions.
Records indicate that incorrect doses make up 63% of prescription errors, and unanticipated adverse drug interactions make up 22%.
It is typically impossible for physicians to predict how patients will react to new medication accurately. That is where monitoring comes in. Physicians, caretakers and family members should look out for adverse effects and respond immediately to avoid the consequences of drug toxicity.
The following errors are possible during medication administration:
- Incorrect medication administered due to misdiagnosis
- Incorrect or expired medication
- Wrong frequency or duration of medication
- Inappropriate slicing and crushing of medication
- Overdosing or underdosing of medication
- Improper antacid and food ingestion with medication
- Inadequate fluid with medication
- Incorrect enteral nutritional fluids administration
Medication errors cause high additional costs for patients of nursing homes and their families in South Carolina. Extra medication and long-term treatment for organ or other health damage could cause significant financial hardship. However, the South Carolina civil justice system allows medication error victims in nursing homes and their families to pursue financial relief by filing medical malpractice lawsuits.