What in the world is this article about? It is about medication errors which occur every day in American’s nursing homes. Residents who receive too much of the correct medication or not enough of the doctored ordered medication and even medication meant for the roommate or resident down the hall. First things first, most nursing home residents take multiple important medications every day and they need those medications to live and function. These residents need competent help managing their medications, if they did not they would not be living in a nursing home or other long term care facility.
We see medication errors in Virginia’s nursing homes all the time. Sometimes those errors cause no real concern and are corrected quickly…others can result in emergent hospitalization or death.
I want to share a recent article detailing a tragic medication error in a nursing home. The article was written by Ross Jones of WXYZ news, an ABC affiliate in Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Jones reports the story of Roy Rach (81 years old) who was supposed to spend just a few days at St. Joseph’s Caretel Inn, a Michigan nursing home. Mr. Rach had just been discharged from a local hospital after being treated for an abnormal heartbeat.
Mr. Rach was a diabetic, not an uncommon diagnosis. His glucose level (blood sugar) was a normal 116 when he came to the nursing home, but by the time he left, only 5 days later, it was nearly 6 times that level. Apparently, Mr. Rach’s diabetes went untreated until his fifth day at the nursing home, even though records show that staff knew he was diabetic. Mr. Rach left the nursing home on a stretcher in a diabetic coma and subsequently died in the hospital. Clink here to read the entire story.
The events surrounding Mr. Rach’s death should never happen. Residents are entitled to recieve competent medical care…the care they pay for. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, ask to see and read the medical chart. Speak with the “medication tech” and make sure he/she understands exactly what drugs, and in what amounts, have been ordered by the physicain and are to be given. You might just prevent a tragedy.