Bakersfield-Medication errors in the Nursing Home

Reducing Medication Errors in Nursing Home Facilities

There are 10 nursing homes that serve the older adult population of the city of Bakersfield. According to a recent article from USA Today, nursing home residents are at high risk of being prescribed antibiotics incorrectly. In fact, the rate of this kind of medication error is 40% to as high as 75% of the time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the cause of this harmful practice can vary—incorrect medication or dose, wrong duration, or simply unnecessary prescription—but the consequences can be detrimental. The Los Angeles Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer, Ben Yeroushalmi, and his team of elder law experts and attorneys, are aware that many antibiotics are overused in Bakersfield nursing homes, to the extent that they become ineffective in fighting the infections they are designed to treat. Additionally, some prescribed antibiotics can actually become the cause of detrimental illnesses all on their own.

The CDC has pressured nursing homes throughout the United States, including those in Bakersfield, to do more to assure that their more than 4 million older adult patients are protected from difficult-to-treat illnesses that are spreading rapidly and resisting antibiotics.

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs can be harmful to anyone, but older adult patients in skilled nursing facilities are particularly vulnerable due to the age-related biological changes of their bodies, such as frailty, diminishing functional status, various comorbidities, and weakened immune systems. According to a study published by Clinical Interventions in Aging, bed-bound patients are usually at higher risk of developing skin infections such as pressure ulcers, while patients with urine or fecal incontinence are more vulnerable to urinary tract infections. Moreover, factors such as close living proximity and repeated nurse-to-resident contact encourages the spread of bacteria among nursing home residents. The study also noted that there is a widespread use of antibiotic prescribing in skilled nursing facilities, which is likely to result in the rise of antibiotic resistance.

In 2013, the CDC published a list of the top 18 drug-resistant infections that afflict over 2 million people annually and kill 23, 000 U.S. citizens. The CDC launched a public education movement for skilled nursing facilities aimed at decreasing the risk of bacterial and viral infections from developing and preventing others from spreading. Upon announcing the initiative, Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, reported, “One way to keep older Americans safe from these superbugs is to make sure antibiotics are used appropriately all the time and everywhere, particularly in nursing homes.”

In every instance a person takes antibiotics, bacteria that are sensitive to this type of medication are killed, but resistant bacteria continue living and multiply, increasing the likelihood of spreading to other people. Continued use of antibiotics stimulates the reproduction of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Although long-term care facilities implement infection-control practices, such as having private rooms and bathrooms for infected patients, ensuring that ailing patients are being prescribed correctly continues to be a challenge. Low staffing levels and inadequately trained staff are a few of the common reasons why medication errors occur in these nursing home facilities.

The elder abuse attorney Ben Yeroushalmi believes that there is no excuse for Bakersfield nursing home staff to fail to provide the best quality of care to their residents. This includes making sure that they are prescribing the right medications to their patients and protecting residents from contracting preventable infections and diseases. If you or a loved one has been a victim of abuse due to a medication error in a nursing home facility, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi today for a free consultation.

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