According to a new study, registered nurses (RNs) are more likely than licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to discover medication errors in nursing homes.
Researchers at the University of Missouri’s Sinclair School of Nursing recently conducted a study on how quickly and consistently nurses identify medication discrepancies.
Such discrepancies are a leading cause of nursing home abuse and neglect, as improper medication administration can cause sickness, permanent disability, and even death.
Sinclair School of Nursing researchers felt it was important to collect data regarding medication errors, with the hope that by doing so, many future drug discrepancies can be prevented.
The Medication Error Study
RNs and LPNs at 12 nursing homes throughout the state of Missouri participated in the study.
Over the course of the study, researchers presented each class of nurses with several different medication scenarios, some of which were correct, and some of which contained errors.
According to the study:
- RNs identified errors in 62 percent of all scenarios given, whereas LPNS only identified errors in 50 percent of all scenarios.
- With specific regard to scenarios involving high-risk drugs, RNs discovered errors in 72 percent of the scenarios, whereas LPNs only discovered errors in 49 percent of the scenarios.
The results from the study have led researchers to believe there may be a difference in the way each class of nurses assesses medication orders.
RNs seem to look for errors in medication orders according to the risk they pose, which can be beneficial for nursing home residents because they are less likely to tolerate adverse side effects from improper medication.
LPNs, however, tend to be more focused on medication reconciliations (making sure all medications are given), as opposed to actively looking for risks.
Despite these differences, both RNs and LPNs play an important role in maintaining the health and safety of nursing home residents, just in different manners.
The study data will be beneficial for nursing home directors, as it may help them to better understand how the different classes of nurses contribute to the overall quality of life for nursing home residents.
Ultimately, medication errors can cause dangerous drug interactions, allergic reactions, irreversible harm, and death. Therefore, preventing such errors should be a top priority for all nursing facilities across the U.S.
If your loved one has suffered due to a medication error in a nursing home, contact the experienced and compassionate nursing home abuse lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani and Levy today.
We care about the health and safety of all nursing home residents, and our injury lawyers will work tirelessly to hold negligent parties responsible and to get the justice and compensation you and your loved one deserve.