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1/3 of Nursing Home Residents Given Wrong Medication

By Josh Silverman on June 25, 2010


A newly released study found that nearly 1/3 of all nursing home patients in a Canadian province received the wrong medication in the course of only one year.  While the study was limited to the Saskatchewan province, an earlier study found that there were over 800,000 medication errors in American nursing homes.  The Canadian study was focused on patients given the wrong medication, but it does not address what I believe is more widespread which are patients who are not given their medications. 

In many cases overworked nurses skip a patient's medications.  Examples include antibiotics to treat life threatening infections, insulin to treat diabetes, and pain medication to relieve suffering.  Equally dangerous are nursing homes that fail to administer prescribed treatments like wound care and breathing treatments.

In almost all cases, medication errors can be avoided.  Due to the seriousness of medication errors in nursing homes, we have set up a medication error practice page on our nursing home website with information about how to prevent medication errors, links to other resources, and frequently asked questions.

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