Nursing Errors Common in Nursing Home Facilities
Medical treatments generally involve a number of participants. During a single hospital stay, patients may receive treatment from numerous doctors and nurses, due to shift changes and varying specialties. Unfortunately, mistakes commonly occur as a result of these variations. It only takes one error to throw off the medical routine and negatively impact a patient’s health. A recent report by the Daytona Beach News Journal highlights the prevalence of medication errors within an area nursing home. According to the article, one patient at the facility was given double doses of medication for almost a year – and this is not an isolated problem.
Since 2011, eight Florida nursing homes were reportedly cited by the state for committing medication mistakes that were considered serious. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a third of all skilled nursing home patients suffer from some type of treatment error.
Common Nursing Errors
Five of the most common nursing errors include:
- Medication Errors – These mistakes include the administration of wrong medications or right medications given in wrong doses.
- Spread of Infection – A lack of proper hygiene techniques can lead to the passing of infections among patients.
- Charting Mistakes – These errors occur on a regular basis, when nurses forget or incorrectly record actions taken during their work shifts. Nurses may also write information in the wrong chart or use incorrect abbreviations in their reporting.
- Patient Falls – A patient may fall while attempting to reach the restroom independently, or walk to the nursing station, in response to an extended period of time without nurse interaction.
- Failing to Report Reactions – Nurses may forget to record abnormal patient behaviors of treatment reactions, which can result in physician misinformation.
Nursing Error Causes
According to the article, one of the major reasons for medical mistakes is a lack of automated record keeping. While large hospitals and established physicians regularly use computerized record keeping, nursing homes often lack the financial resources to implement these tools. Though they are not fool-proof, electronic records are meant to encourage accuracy and catch errors. LuMarie Polivka-West is the senior director of policy for the Florida Health Care Association. She is quoted in the article as stating, “We are trying to encourage facilities and companies to move into the next level of electronic health records, but it’s very expensive. Nursing homes are not part of the 21st century in that regard.”
Even when electronic records are regularly used, mistakes can still occur when numerous people are providing services to each patient. Some staff members are poorly trained and nursing homes are notorious for their high employee turnover rates, which creates a shortage of nurses. Those who are working may feel rushed and overwhelmed, leading to increased mistakes. The Florida Board of Nurses requires a certification course on the prevention of nursing errors, but when mistakes do happen, legal liability should be considered.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a nursing error or subjected to nursing home abuse, contact the legal team of Miami based Pita & Del Prado for knowledgeable and skillful representation. Call the office today at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation.