Medication Errors

The Los Angeles medication error lawyers at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi have extensive experience litigating nursing home cases involving medication error abuse. Although this event is generally common, it is also usually preventable. Our attorneys are dedicated to holding nursing homes accountable for this type of neglect and have achieved the best results for our clients.

Nursing homes, also called “skilled nursing facilities,” are some of the most complex medical environments for patients. Many elderly individuals at nursing homes take medication for one reason or another, and they are at a far greater risk to suffer injury from medication error than the average person or even the average elder. These patients are more likely to have several ongoing and adverse health conditions which complicate the administration of medications. Patients taking certain medications, including psychotropic medications, are at an increased risk for preventable medication error. There is also little involvement by doctors in nursing home care due to unavailability, lack of individualized patient experience, and very low compensation rates. It is thus no surprise that most medication errors in the United States occur in long-term care settings such as nursing homes.

Medication error is categorized as either overdosing or underdosing, dose omission, incorrect patient or product, or incorrect strength of product. Although common, studies have shown that almost half of medication errors are entirely preventable, and that they occur most often at the ordering and monitoring phases patient care. In the experiences of medication error attorneys at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi in Los Angeles, medication error is attributed to recklessness on part of nursing homes and their staff.

The primary reason why medication occurs in the skilled nursing setting is communication problems, whether it be between the patient or the patient’s family and the staff, the attending physician and the staff, or amongst the staff themselves. Mistakes in prescribing medication and monitoring care and administration result from insufficient or incorrect information during the ordering of medication, which include health conditions and effects of other medications. Coupled with the fact that much of the communication regarding a specific patient’s medical decisions is made in short conversations via telephone, medication error rates in skilled nursing facilities can be exceptionally high.

In addition, many nursing home care providers often have little to no experience or knowledge of a specific patient’s medical history. Medication administration procedures are also very complicated, and thus the chance that medication error will result is substantially high. Elderly patients are also very likely to experience several transfers to and from the nursing home, which increases the risk that information about the patient’s medication regimen will be lost or altered in the process. Nevertheless, nursing homes have a legal duty to anticipate these risks, and you may want to contact an experienced medication error lawyer in Los Angeles if your loved one has suffered harm as a result of such error.

Regardless of the complexity of medication administration, nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent errors in medication administration. Nursing facilities should ensure that accurate documentation procedures are used. Methods include use of computerized record-keeping systems, automated packaging and dispensing services, suitable training and education for facility staff, and regular monitoring of patients’ changes in condition. Facilities should also develop comprehensive medication reconciliation policies and procedures, especially for patient transfers to or from the facility. Studies illustrate that more thorough medication reconciliation methods drastically reduce the risk that medication error will occur.

Although most of preventing medication error is the duty of the nursing home and its staff, there are also some steps a patient’s family can take to better safeguard their loved ones from this type of neglect. Patients’ families should confirm that all medical conditions and concurrent medications are disclosed to the nursing home and relevant physicians upon admission. They should also ensure that there is effective communication among the nursing staff, the patient’s physician, and the patient or patient’s family. Families should take note of the patient’s condition, and alert staff when an unexpected physical or mental change in condition occurs.

If you or your loved one has suffered harm because of nursing home medication error, contact the Los Angeles medication error lawyers at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi immediately. Our offices have experience in proving that medication error was the result of a nursing home’s neglect and have achieved maximum results for our clients. Call us at (310) 623-196 or online today for a free consultation.

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