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Nursing home medication injuries increasing hospitalizations

Families in Phoenix, Arizona, who are looking for nursing home or assisted living care for loved ones are likely considering numerous factors. The ongoing safety and well-being of your loved one is a top concern, and it's important to find a facility where staff takes an organized, caring approach to treatment. Though staff members are only human, and mistakes are bound to happen on rare occasions, families want to avoid facilities known for negligence or inappropriate care. In another state, news reports are uncovering a number of medication injury issues, many of which lead to hospitalization.

According to health inspectors in the other state, since 2011, there were over 380 medication errors in nursing homes. Some of those errors required hospitalization after patients began to hallucinate, experience labored breathing or demonstrated a dangerous drop in blood sugar level. At least two of the instances resulted in the death of residents.

One woman lost her brother after nursing home staff failed to provide necessary cancer medications for a year. The woman stated that she researched the facility in 2005 before admitting her brother after he had a heart attack. She was happy with the facility and confident the staff would provide good care.

According to the woman, the man was later diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer. He was given a prescription for cancer medication that was working, said the woman. After he took a turn for the worse and passed away, it was discovered that the nursing home staff were not providing the appropriate medications and had failed to follow up with his oncologist. The family settled a lawsuit with the nursing home.

Experts say that family members should take some responsibility for patient care, even when their loved one is in a nursing home. The woman who lost her brother also encourages family involvement. She advises family members to visit often, check on the welfare of their loved ones and press staff for answers when something seems wrong or weird. If negligent actions on the part of nursing home staff result in further injury or death, then family members have the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering and other damages through legal channels.

Source: NBCChicago.com, "Nursing Home Medication Errors Leading to Hospitalizations" Chris Coffey, Feb. 04, 2014

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