IDPH has cited and fined Taylorville Skilled nursing home after a resident there went six days without his anticonvulsant medication, resulting in seizures that led to the resident being admitted to hospice.
Fundamentally, nursing homes are businesses, and well-run businesses have systems in place to ensure that the routine delivery of necessary services occurs, and those services are critical, that there are back-up or fail safe systems that can kick in when things break down to avert catastrophe. Giving medications is one of those routine services that nursing home provides. But in order for that to happen, the prescribed medications must be on hand.
Nursing home medication errors like this are what happens when the medication prescribed for a resident is not on hand and nothing is done to address the situation.
The resident at issue had a complex medical history including epilepsy. His neurologist prescribed a medication called Vimpat to be twice daily to control seizures. Epileptic seizures in adults can have long-term serious effects.
Nursing homes rely on pharmacies to supply medication to the facility. These medications are delivered on a regular basis to the nursing home, and the nursing home relies on timely delivery of the medications to ensure the health and well-being of the residents. The nursing home here switched pharmacies, and in the process of making the switch, the new pharmacy did not deliver the medication because it wanted a new prescription from the doctor.
In the meantime, over a 6-day period the resident did not receive the anticonvulsant medication. The staff duly noted on the resident chart that the resident did not get the medication because they were awaiting delivery from the pharmacy. However, they did not notify the doctor, the director of nursing or the administrator, or the resident’s family. As a result, the resident experienced significant seizures which were difficult to bring under control even in a hospital setting. Due to the consequences of the seizures, the resident has been placed on hospice.
There are a number of breakdowns in the care that this resident received. A large part of that relates to the breakdown in the delivery of medications and the failure to resolve the issue once it occurred. This is a staff training issue since apparently among multiple staff members who cared for the resident over that 6-day window, none of them knew what to do when the medications were not being delivered. At a minimum the doctor and resident’s family needed to be notified that his patient was not receiving critical medications. This is a critical issue of which the nursing home administration should have been notified.
The failure to properly train the staff is consistent with a lack of investment in the staff. Failing to make investment in the personnel on the floor is consistent with how the nursing home business model operates. One of our core beliefs is that nursing homes are built to fail due to the business model they follow and that unnecessary accidental injuries and wrongful deaths of nursing home residents are the inevitable result. Order our FREE report, Built to Fail, to learn more about why. Our experienced Chicago nursing home lawyers are ready to help you understand what happened, why, and what your rights are. Contact us to get the help you need.
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