A side effect, also known as an adverse drug event (ADE), is an unexpected and unfortunate experience that results in toxicity, injury, or sensitive reaction. It is considered a secondary reaction to the therapeutic effect of a drug or medical procedure, such as surgery.
How Adverse Drug Events Occur
There are a number of situations in which an ADEs can occur. According to Today’s Geriatric Medicine, medication errors “may occur while prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, adherence, or monitoring of drug therapy.” Another common ADE is an allergic reaction, which results in an adverse drug reaction (ADR) that manifests itself in the form of hives or a rash. ADRs are defined as “harm directly caused by a drug at normal doses during normal use.” An ADE can also occur due to inadequate dosage, which includes overdose or dose reduction.
Types of Errors and Side Effects That Nursing Home Residents Experience
Researchers conducted a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in which the purpose was to examine the types of side effects and medication errors residents experience in nursing homes. Another aspect of the study was to observe the work systems and staffing that might affect ADEs and errors.
The findings indicated that at least half of all nursing home residents were taking nine or more medications. One of the common ADEs for these older adults was a higher risk of bleeding due to blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin or a generic substitute. Nursing home residents also had an increased risk of low blood sugar from diabetic medicines that could result in dizziness and falls. Residents with dementia were at particular risk for falling due to prescribed tranquilizers and sleeping medications.
When medication is incorrectly administered, it may result in catastrophic consequences such as increased deterioration or serious injury of the nursing home resident’s health.
How to Notice Signs and Symptoms of ADEs
If you notice a change in your loved one’s physical appearance or mental state, it may be an indication that there’s been a medication error. It is extremely important to alert the nursing home management and staff if you suspect that there’s been an error in the type or dosage of medication.
Verify your loved one’s prescriptions to confirm that the correct medications have been administered at the right dosage and proper time. If you request additional information regarding your loved one’s medication and the request is ignored, then it might be time to contact local law enforcement.
Remember, errors regarding prescription medications can occur in nursing homes at any point in the distribution process. The best way for you to manage your loved one’s care while in a nursing home is to maintain an awareness of possible errors in the system in order to keep them safe and unharmed.
Ways to Prevent Nursing Home Medication Errors
An error reporting system is an effective means of preventing medication errors. It creates a system of checks and balances within the nursing home that records and monitors any medication errors that occur. Once alerted, the health care professional can diagnose and correct the mistake. Proper training includes improved communication between the physicians and nursing home staff, elimination of abbreviations, improved organization of medicine, and a computerized ordering system that verifies the patient, dosage, and time in which the medication is to be administered.
How to Take Action After an Injury Caused by a Nursing Home Medication Error
You have the right to seek compensation if your loved one was injured or passed because of a medication error while in a nursing home. An experienced attorney can assist you in pursuing the best course of action to receive the compensation you deserve. There are various legal actions you can pursue such as a medical malpractice suit, personal injury lawsuit, or wrongful death suit, depending on your circumstances.
Contact 1-800-516-4783 to be connected to a nursing home abuse lawyer who will assist in providing a comprehensive evaluation of your family’s situation. If your loved one has been the victim of an ADE in a nursing home, you want someone experienced in handling medication lawsuits against nursing homes to help protect the rights of your loved one.
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