Medication Errors and Their Profound Impacts on the Long-Term Care Resident

By Sophie A. Campbell, MSN, RN, CRRN, RAC-CT, CNDLTC - February 08, 2017

Medication errors in long-term care facilities result in needless suffering and preventable costs. American researchers have estimated that for every dollar spent on drugs in nursing facilities, $1.33 in healthcare resources is consumed in the treatment of drug-related problems. Ferrah, Lovell, and Ibrahim (2016), in their discussion of the scale of preventable harm inflicted by medication errors on nursing home residents, state that adverse drug events (ADEs) reported for nursing home residents have an estimated incidence rate of 1.2–7.3 per 100 resident months, with an estimated annual cost of $7.6 billion nationally. Residents are especially vulnerable to ADEs because of their multiple comorbidities and complex drug regimens as well as the higher potential for drug interactions due to age-related physiological changes. These age-related changes, in turn, increase the difficulty of attributing symptoms to adverse drug reactions.