The residents of nursing homes are often among the most vulnerable patient population and are very likely to have a daily regimen of medication. This means there is a potential for medication errors that could range from harmless to serious, or even deadly.
Nursing homes employ both Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), among other caregivers. RNs require more training and education than other nurses. They are often supervisors, and work directly under medical doctors, overseeing LPNs and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). They initiate patient treatment plans, administer medication, monitor patients’ health and care. They prepare IVs, draw blood, administer injections, and take vital signs. They also delegate nursing assignments and create work schedules.
LPNs offer bedside patient care under the supervision of the head RN. They are responsible for patients’ personal hygiene, taking vital signs, and moving patients into comfortable positions. An LPN may also be responsible for initiating medication. A recent study indicates that RNs are better equipped to identify medication order inconsistencies that could be harmful to patients. When interviewed about their roles in medication reconciliation, the study found that RNs were more concerned about accuracy, safety, and understanding a patient’s clinical condition. However, LPNs were more concerned about knowing times, and they were more likely to make assumptions about medication orders. This issue can lead to missing the complexities of a patient’s condition where the LPN will rely on rules to guide their decisions, increasing the propensity for medication errors.
If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of a medication error or of nursing home abuse, please call the New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP. Call us at 732-777-0100 now to speak to a caring and dedicated attorney, or contact us online for a free consultation. We are conveniently located in Red Bank, Toms River, and Edison, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout the state.