Charlotte, NC- With close to 4 million people in nursing homes across the country, there are bound to be lapses in care. Some incidents of abuse and neglect. There are also bound to be medical errors including mistakes with medications. In a recent study, researchers for the Centers for Disease Control found that an overwhelming majority of nursing home residents are given antibiotics unnecessarily or incorrectly either through the wrong dosage or the wrong duration.
In their study, the CDC found that 75 percent of nursing home residents are given antibiotics incorrectly. That means the majority of nursing home residents are given antibiotics when they don’t need them or they are not given in the correct dosages or at the correct intervals.
As consequence, the Centers for Disease Controls suggest that long-term care facilities should evaluate their standards and practices for administering antibiotics and take steps to prevent overusing or misusing antibiotics.
The CDC was looking the usage of antibiotics nursing homes and health care facilities in an effort to discover why antibiotic-resistant infections have been common in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Medical professionals have long suspected that the boom in superbugs is tied to the overuse of antibiotics. The CDC says these superbugs cause 2 million illnesses and approximately 23,000 deaths in the United States each year.
These superbugs are especially harmful to the elderly who already have compromised immune systems. By limiting the misuse of antibiotics, facilities can limit the number of residents who come down with these very deadly superbugs.
The fact that 75 percent of nursing home residents are not being given antibiotics properly points to a prevalence of medication errors in long-term care settings. In most cases, antibiotics aren’t harmful to the recipient, unless they are allergic, but some medications are, and cause a nursing home resident unnecessary suffering.
Data from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services indicates that 68 percent of residents in nursing homes take an average of 9 medications daily and 32 percent take an average of 20 prescription medications every day. That leaves a great deal of room for error, especially in a large facility that is more likely than not to be understaffed.
Medication errors in North Carolina nursing homes usually occur because of misidentification and incorrect dosages. Misidentification is common and usually occurs when a staff member fails to read a label or a check a resident’s ID bracelet. Sometimes given an elderly person the wrong medication can have adverse effect and cause damaging drug interactions. Giving the wrong dosages is also a common medication error and can cause their medical conditions to worsen, or hasten their death.
There is nothing worse for a family than watching their loved suffer unnecessarily and they can take steps to protect them by speaking with a nursing home abuse lawyer in North Carolina. They can help you figure out what steps you can take if your loved one has been harmed by a medication error.
USAttorneys can connect you with an accomplished elder abuse lawyer if you are concerned that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected.