Systematic review: medication errors common in nursing homes, many due to handoffs. However, serious harm is unusual.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Nov 21; [Epub ahead of print].
Systematic review of the prevalence of medication errors resulting in hospitalization and death of nursing home residents.
Older adults living in long-term care facilities face significant safety hazards. This systematic review examined medication errors in nursing homes and found a high prevalence of errors overall. The review revealed that a significant number of errors were related to handoffs and that 75% of these older patients received at least one potentially inappropriate medication. However, serious harm associated with medication use was reported for less than 1% of errors. The authors emphasize the difficulty of attributing harm to medications versus underlying illness in nursing home residents, and they call for designing safer systems for medication administration in nursing homes. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed challenges to ensuring patient safety in long-term care facilities.
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