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Communication vital to prevent medication error after transfer

Patients who are in skilled nursing facilities expect to be cared for properly. One of the aspects of patient care that must be executed properly is the administration of medications. Almost every skilled nursing facility or nursing home can benefit from learning ways that medication errors can be prevented. Kentucky residents might like to know about some of the medication errors that could happen when a patient is transferred from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility.

When a patient moves from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility, medication errors might occur. The American Society of Clinical Pharmacists notes that 28 percent of hospitalizations for senior citizens are caused by adverse drug reactions.

One reason for this might be the complex clinical needs of patients. In some cases, the high number of medications might cause an issue. When dealing with these patients, proper communication between the hospital and the skilled nursing facility is vital to help reduce the chance that medications will be given in improper dosages or in incorrect combinations.

There are three major areas where communication tends to breakdown during the transfers. The first breakdown involves the medication list. The skilled nursing facility might get incorrect medication lists. These lists might contain conflicting information or missing medications.

The second breakdown involves the patient care summaries. In order for these to be effective, they must contain contact information for personnel who may need to be contacted about the patient's care.

The third breakdown involves prescriptions. In some cases, the hospital might not send signed prescriptions with the patient for controlled substances. This can cause a delay in the patient receiving the medication.

When a communication breakdown occurs between the hospital and the skilled nursing facility, the patient might be put in danger from delayed medication dosages or other medication errors. If your loved one has been harmed by a medication error, you might have the right to seek compensation on his or her behalf. An experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney can provide more information on how to pursue such compensation.

Source: McKnight's, "3 strategies for improved medication management communications in SNFs" Anne Tumlinson, Mar. 17, 2014

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