Nation’s Medicare patients at risk for medication errors

Our nation’s aging population has fueled a dramatic rise in the number of people living in care facilities. One specific type of these homes is referred to as a skilled nursing facility which is reserved for people needing a higher level of care than others. Many Pennsylvania families have had to make the decision to move their loved ones into such centers in order to provide the proper level of treatment and assistance. Sadly, these homes are the sites of many reported medication errors, neglect or other problems.

An article in the media recently reported on a concerning level of serious errors found to involve Medicare patients living in skilled nursing facilities around the country. An investigation conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services noted that as many as one-third of all residents are the victims of either medication errors, infections or other medical mistakes.

More than half of these patients require transport to another facility for care for their conditions and as many as 1.5 percent died due to the situations. The study also concluded that the majority of the problems were found to be preventable. Prescription medication errors typically involved medical staff administering an incorrect drug, giving the wrong drug or allergic reactions to medications.

The need to ensure the safety of patients in care facilities is of great importance to families everywhere. If you suspect a problem at a home where your relative lives, you may wish to talk to an attorney to learn how best to proceed.

Source: The Washington Times, “Obamacare harbinger? One-third of nursing home patients suffer from medical errors,” Phillip Swarts, March 3, 2014