Prescription Medication Errors

Are Group Homes Grossly Underreporting Medication Errors?

March 13, 2017 by James McHugh, Jr.
nursing malpractice

For adults who are disabled or need constant care, group homes offer the around the clock care necessary while providing a sense of community. However, like nursing homes and other long term care facilities, residents in group homes are susceptible to dangers like neglect, abuse, and medication errors.

According to data from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), group homes purportedly have an astonishing low rate of reported medication errors, but experts don’t believe the rate is accurate. Medication errors at group homes are completely self-reported, meaning group homes could be grossly underreporting medication errors.

Understanding Medication Errors in Group Homes

Unlike in other long term care facilities, employees at group homes go through significantly less training regarding the administration of medication. Many group homes employ “direct care providers” who do not have any medical training. Direct care providers are only required to pass a three-day course before employment.

The DDS estimated that in 2015 group homes administered approximately 41.9 million doses of medication, but only 5,833 medication errors were reported. Considering the individuals responsible for administering medications only receive three days of training, this number cannot accurately reflect the actual number of medication errors.

Group homes choose to employ direct care providers to administer medication rather than registered nurses because it is much less costly. This decision to put profits before patients is incredibly dangerous. Just one incorrect dose could be fatal, but direct care providers are allowed to make three medication errors before facing serious consequences.

Group homes need to do everything in their power to help prevent medication errors. Without the appropriate medical education, direct care providers are set up for failure and put patients at risk. Residents in group homes do not always have a family member or advocate to contact when they experience a medication error, and are often left to suffer alone.

Attorneys For Medication Errors

If you or someone you love suffered from an injury caused by a medication error in a Philadelphia group home, you have legal options. Call the experienced medication error lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP today for a free consultation. Our lawyers can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf.

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