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How can families avoid medication errors by a nursing home?


Thousands of Georgia residents rely on nursing homes to care for elderly loved ones. In many situations, family members simply do not have the necessary medical skills to care for aging loved ones, and the best thing for the loved one's health and quality of life is living in a nursing home where they can receive the around-the-clock care they need. Nonetheless, our Georgia readers have probably seen previous posts here that detail some of the potential problems, including nursing home neglect and abuse that elderly residents of nursing homes may face. One such potential problem is medication errors.

Everyone makes mistakes, but medication mistakes can result in significant health problems. If a person receives too much or too little of a certain necessary medication, health complications could be compounded. Or, if a person receives the incorrect type of medication, unpleasant -- or even fatal -- side effects may come into play. So, what can Georgia residents do to help nursing home staff members avoid medication errors, when it comes to their loved ones?

First, it is important to stay in contact with the nursing home that is caring for your loved one. Medication does not always have to be the topic of conversation. But, if you can reassure yourself that the reports about your loved ones show that they are active in the nursing home and going about their daily routine as normal, chances are that they are receiving their medication in appropriate doses.

Beyond occasional checking in, very specific directions and communications regarding medication can be a significant safeguard against potential problems. Do the staff members know the name of your loved one's medication? Do they know what effect it is supposed to have? Do they know the appropriate dosage? Making sure that some of the staff members who will regularly have contact with your loved one know the answers to these questions can go a long way toward preventing medication errors.

Source: MayoClinic.org, "Medication errors: Cut your risk with these tips," accessed on Nov. 21, 2015

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