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What are medication errors and how do I prevent them?


If you or your elderly loved one are in a nursing home, then you may struggle with the idea of full-time care being provided by a complete stranger. Fortunately, administrative rules and laws regulate how these health care professionals act in an attempt to ensure nursing home resident safety. But, as this blog has discussed in the past, these measures are not failsafe. Far too many Illinois residents are subjected to nursing home neglect, and they suffer as a result.

One of the more common types injurious mistakes made in nursing homes is medication error. These mistakes can be made in a variety of ways, including giving an individual the wrong medication, the wrong dosage or failing to give medication at all. The results of a medication error can be tragic, too, leaving you or your loved one with a worsened medical condition, serious side effects, permanent damage or even death.

The causes of medication errors can vary widely. Most often they are caused by bad communication between nursing home staff, between healthcare providers and patients, and medications that sound alike or are improperly stored. You may be able to help curtail these mistakes by asking a lot of questions. What dosage is being prescribed? Does the medicine cause adverse effects when taken with other medication? How should the medicine be taken? These are all questions that could help clarify and save you or your loved one's life.

Tragically, though, even asking important questions cannot guarantee that a medical professional will refrain from causing a medication error. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a medication error caused by negligence, then you may want to consider your legal options, including the possibility of seeking compensation.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Medication errors: Cut your risk with these tips," accessed on Aug. 26, 2016

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