Lake Charles
Baton Rouge

Protecting the elderly against medication errors

When your parents begin to age, it's sometimes hard to know exactly what's ailing them. They may have multiple conditions working against them, and there are likely multiple specialists and medical providers they'll see. It can be hard to keep conditions and medications straight, but that's what medical providers and nursing homes should take care of for you.

The problem begins when people fail to communicate. Nurses unaware of the cancellation of some medications may still give them to patients, potentially causing medications to combine in dangerous ways.

What can you do to make sure your parent isn't put in harm's way?

One step you can take is to take all medications to every appointment. Keep a list of your parent's medications and have that list on hand when you or your parent speak with any medical professional. Such professionals checking their own records and updating medications is necessary to make sure no medications interact and cause trouble for your loved one.

It's not possible to know everything about every medication, but there are several ways that medication errors should be prevented. First, the medical provider creates a prescription but should know if it interacts with other medications your loved one already takes. Then, the doctor sends that prescription on to the pharmacy.

The pharmacist also checks for interactions. If there is one, the pharmacist will tell you and inform the medical provider, so a patient doesn't inadvertently take a dangerous combination of medications.

If both these people fail to catch a potential error, it's up to the person dispensing the drugs to catch the mistake. In nursing homes, that's generally the nurse's job. If you dispense them to your loved one, you should do your best to watch for interactions.

If a pharmacist, doctor and nurse fail to catch a medication mistake, it could be malpractice. Your loved one could be hurt by the mistakes.

What should you do if your loved one suffers from a medication error?

If your loved one is a victim of a medication error, the very first step is getting medical treatment. There may be ways to reverse side effects, or a medical provider may need to monitor your loved one while he or she recovers from the mix up. After this, you'll likely want to keep records and look into your options for pursuing legal claims or further investigation.


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Lake Charles Office
616 Broad Street
Lake Charles, LA 70601-4337

Phone: 337-494-5757
Fax: 337-437-7890
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Baton Rouge Office
11716 Bricksome Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Phone: 225-763-7777
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