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Study Shows Errors In Timing Of Administration Of Medication In Assisted Living Facilties

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the likelihood of a medication error is low.  The authors of the study looked at 12 long-term care facilities in 3 states.  The results of the study are surprising considering that many long-term care facilities use aides who no formal training in the administration of medication.  Among the studies findings are:Errors In Timing Of Administration Of Medication

  • Overall error rate of 28.2%
  • Timing errors were the most common (70.8%).  The resident did not receive the medication within an hour of the scheduled time.
  • Wrong dosage 12.9% of the time
  • Skipped dosage 11.1% of the time
  • Extra dosage 3.5% of the time
  • Unauthorized drug 1.5% of the time
  • Wrong drug .2% of the time

None of the timing errors were related to medications where timing is critical to the health of the resident.  Medications such as insulin and warfarin must be administered very consistently in order to avoid serious physical injury to the individual.

Once the ‘time’ factor was removed from the study, results show that medication errors were made 8.2% of the time.

Where else would an 8.2% error rate be acceptable?  Can you imagine a bank teller with an 8.2% error rate in giving out cash.  How long would a bank keep a person like that around?

Read more about medication errors in assisted living facilities here.

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  • Martin Wade

    Hello, i just had a situation with a Nurse in an Assisted Living Facility. A resident in an argrivated state came to me for AM medications. I rarely see the patient but on this particular morning he had it in for me, mumbling profanities and racial epithets. As i was dispensing medications he (very knowledgable about his meds) detected a wrong dosage and showed me. I checked the kardex, thanked him and continued with appropriate dosage. When the nurse came in he’d written a letter lying and saying that i was refusing to give him correct dosage, a common behaviour from this person. The nurse, who on several occasions told co workers he does not like me “because” decided this was a med error and tried to coerce me into signing an error form. I havent had one in years adn informed him that he should know an error would involve the patient ingesting the wrong meds. Am i wrong here?

  • vicki

    Having worked in a assisted living home, I can understand why there are so many medication errors. The companies will not hire enough staff to adequately care for the residents. The facility I was employed at had one nurse/med aid per shift to handle 50+ residents medications. Most of the residents had 5-10 different medications taken 3x a day. The nurse/med aid was also responsible for wound care, which unfortunately there is a lot of wound care needed in assisted living centers. This was all to be performed within 2 hours, which is impossible. One evening there was a med cup filled with all different pills hidden in one of the med carts. The supervisor and I assumed the med aid was trying to hide the fact that she could not dispense all the medication that evening so she was trying to hide the rest and forgot to throw them away before she went home. There was about ten of the residents meds in that cup! The supervisor never said anything to this aid. And nothing was mentioned about it again!! Can you believe it. I was on med duty one night and one of the residents’ came to me to beg me not to leave her alone with one of the aids that was working that night. I asked her why and she told me the aid was mean to her and she was afraid to be alone with her. I reported this to my supervisor who said “she has alzheimers and probably has no idea whats she’s talking about”. This was truly sad. The only good thing to happen was the aid quit about 1 week later because she did not get the schedule she wanted. . This is what is happening in all senoir living centers and nursing homes. I no longer work there and have no plans to ever work in a senior home again.

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