Not only do nursing home patients often need to take several medications, but the ways in which these medications must be administered are often very specific. When mistakes are made, nursing home patients may suffer severe heath complications or may even have a fatal medical emergency.

How Many Nurses are There?

Part of what causes medical errors is the lack of nurses employed at the nursing home. When there are a lot of nurses, the nurses are less likely to be overworked and overstressed, which will reduce the chances of a dangerous mistake. More than half of the medical mistakes made by nurses are preventable.

Many of these mistakes have resulted from the improper monitoring of a patient or by nurses trying to take shortcuts as a way to save time. For example, a nurse might crush a medication so that it can be administered more quickly, but neglect to read that the medication must not be crushed. Medications that are slow-release must not be crushed.

Therefore, if your loved one will stay at a nursing home, pay attention to how many nurses are on staff and whether they appear to be stressed. If they are, the nursing home might not be the best choice. The medical pass in which medications are distributed to patients can take several hours to complete and will also take attention away from other important tasks if the nursing home doesn't have enough nurses.

How is the Food?

Find out about the quality of food at the nursing home. Some medications must be taken with adequate amounts of food, so if the quality of food at the nursing home is poor, your loved one might be inclined to eat less and this could increase the risk of a medical error.

Who Administers the Medicines?

Ask if the medications are administered by a nurse or an unlicensed individual. While some states require that a nurse administer medications, others do not. But you will still want a well-trained nurse handling this responsibility.

Does the Patient Understand the Requirements of the Medication?

Talk to your loved one about the requirements of the medications so that your loved one can be an extra set of eyes and ears. For example, if a nurse is required to shake a medication well, but the nurse forgets to do so, your loved one can warn the nurse. These extra precautions may not be necessary if your loved one is staying at a reputable nursing home, but it is always best to be careful.

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from neglect, talk with an attorney at a place like Large & Associates Attorneys.