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The Great Cost Of Medication Errors
1/14/2013
It is important that all healthcare providers be familiar with the extent of the problem, both the high error rates and the potentially serious consequences.
Dorothy Freudeman was a resident at The Landing of Canton, an assisted living facility. She was discovered in an unresponsive state in her room and spent fifteen months in a semicomatose state before dying. Her son, Dennis Freudeman, sued The Landing for negligence, violating Ohio Patient Bill of Rights, wrongful death, and punitive damages. He alleged that staff at The Landing mistakenly gave Dorothy anti-diabetic medication, which caused hypoglycemia and resulted in permanent brain dysfunction. Because he could not prove exactly how Dorothy received the medication, he requested a jury instruction on res ipsa loquitur, which the district court gave over The Landing’s objection. The jury found The Landing liable on all claims and awarded $680,000 in compensatory damages and $1,250,000 in punitive damages, plus attorney fees.

The court referred to multiple prior medication errors and that the facility had “regularly engaged in the unsafe practice of pre-pouring residents' medications; the medication cart was ‘a mess' most of the time” among other violations. This one court case highlights the ramifications of medication administration errors and not following best practices of medication administration.

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There is a growing problem of medication errors within our healthcare system. It is important that all healthcare providers be familiar with the extent of the problem, both the high error rates and the potentially serious consequences. This knowledge is needed to facilitate active participation in implementing effective strategies and changes in attitudes to decrease these error rates. Errors are in effect a breakdown of a system and not the sole responsibility of any one individual.

Pedagogy’s course “Reducing Medication Errors: A Focus on the Med Pass” is designed for the licensed nurse and certified medication aide. The course will provide information on the scope of problem, the cause and the prevention of medication errors. With a focus on the current best practices of medication preparation and administration this course will enhance understanding of the survey process and remedies the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) may enforce.The goal is to reduce facility medication error rates in order to provide safe medication administration to residents.

This course would be excellent for survey readiness review or for facilities that have received F-tags regarding medication administration this course serves as “Plan of Correction” directed education.

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