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Understanding Medication Errors and Its Various Examples

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Medication administration errors are a frequent issue in healthcare facilities and long-term care facilities. During their inspections, state officials are often tasked with determining each facility’s rate of prescription errors. Medication mistakes must be kept to a minimum to ensure patient safety. If the nursing home’s error rate is higher than average, it is supposed to develop a strategy to reduce the problem.

Medication errors should not exceed five percent in nursing homes. Little medication errors are to be expected, but all nursing home residents must be safe from serious ones.

To commit a medication error, one must deviate from the prescribed dose, the manufacturer’s instructions, or the generally acknowledged standards of practice.  Neglect or even abuse can occur in a nursing home if the mistakes are severe enough.

A Notable Reminder

Medication errors can occur during either the preparation or administration of medications to residents.  Compensation might be available if you or a loved one were seriously hurt or killed as a result of a drug error in a nursing home. You may read a free case study to find out more.

Medication Management in an Elder Care Facilities

Medication is typically administered in nursing homes during a “med pass.” Medication administration is the practice of giving prescribed drugs to patients at a nursing home. When administering medication to multiple patients at once under doctors’ orders, a nurse will often use a mobile medication cart.  Licensed nurses are responsible for administering med passes. Medication administration takes time, but recording the administration of meds takes time too.

The Common Examples of Medication Errors

Medication errors can take many forms in a nursing home. Some common examples of medication errors are:

Breaking apart a Tablet That Shouldn’t Be Divided

Drugs that come with warnings not to smash them are an example.

Not Giving Enough Fluids

The medication’s instructions typically specify the recommended amount of liquid to administer with a certain prescription. The resident’s health and safety may be at risk if the medication is not taken with this amount of fluid.

Not Supplying Enough Food or Antacids

Several drugs have specific instructions on whether they should be used before or after eating. Before taking some medications, an antacid may be necessary. Proper medicine administration is the responsibility of the nursing staff.

Not Shaking, Rolling, or Mixing the Medicine

Before administering, you may need to shake or mix the prescription. There is a chance of giving the resident too much or too little medication if it is not blended appropriately.

Lacking Adherence to Enteral Nutritional Formulas

Enteral feeding is used for some patients being fed through a tube. Medication administration to such patients requires adherence to a specific set of protocols and regulations. Medication errors that cause harm to the patient can occur if the correct procedures are not followed.

Incorrect Administration of Eye Drops

It is necessary to administer some eye drugs straight into the eye. The nursing home worker should ensure that the eye drop makes contact with the eye for a sufficient amount of time (approximately 3–5 minutes) for the drug to be absorbed. A medication error may occur if this is not done.

Administering Sublingual Drugs to Patients

It can be difficult to get some patients to take sublingual pills. If the patient is swallowing the sublingual tablet on a regular basis, the dosage or prescription should be adjusted.


Indeed, medication errors in nursing homes can have severe consequences and should be taken seriously. It is the responsibility of the nursing staff to ensure that medication is administered correctly and safely to residents. Examples of medication errors may include not following instructions, not providing the correct amount of fluids or food, and incorrect administration of eye drops or sublingual drugs.

Nursing homes should strive to minimize medication errors to ensure patient safety and well-being. If you suspect that you or a loved one has been affected by a medication error, consult a healthcare professional immediately.

If you are looking for well-trusted nursing home abuse lawyers in Tennessee, look no further than our experienced practitioners here at Jehl Law Group. Our attorneys have more than 65 years of experience in handling nursing home or elder abuse and neglect. Based in Memphis, Jehl Law Group attorneys are licensed in Tennessee and several other states including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. Call us today and let us discuss all your legal options regarding your medication error complaint.