top of page

Medication Errors in Assisted Living Facilities & Nursing Homes

medication errors in assisted living facilities

Medication errors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes can lead to serious, even life-threatening repercussions for residents and their families. Almost every patient or resident in these facilities requires some type of medication. For many, multiple medications need to be administered daily. Where mistakes are made, such as skipping required doses or overdosing, the consequences can be a significant reduction in the management of a disease or health condition or increased and serious side effects. In poorly managed facilities where staff are poorly trained or understaffed, mistakes can occur leading to health deterioration and injuries to dependent residents.

Holding negligent assisted living facilities and nursing homes accountable for any harm done to their residents is a difficult proposition. These cases call for the knowledge and skills of an attorney who is experienced in them. Attorney JP Sawyer devotes most of his practice to protecting the rights, health, and safety of the elderly residing in these facilities. We bring decades of experience, tenacity, and care to the individuals we represent and their families in and around Montgomery and throughout Alabama.

Reach out to Sawyer Law Firm online or at (334) 539-0604 for a free case review to learn your options and how we can help.

Medication Errors Examples (H2)

Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities commonly have such health conditions as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s, dementia, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, osteoporosis, and more. These individuals are often on many medications to control these conditions and depend on staff to administer them.

Where carelessness occurs by staff, medication errors can occur, including:

  • Forgetting a medication

  • Administering the wrong dosage

  • Administering a wrong medication

  • Overmedication

These errors may be unintentional yet have serious effects on the individual’s health. This could be considered unintentional abuse but is still illegal.

Abuse of Sedatives, Anti-Depressants, or Anti-Psychotic Medications

In other cases, however, residents in these facilities may be purposely overdosed in what is known as “chemical restraint” to keep them docile and under control. This is done by giving the resident higher amounts of prescribed drugs or giving them unprescribed drugs, such as sedatives, anti-depressants, or anti-psychotic drugs designed to subdue them and make them more manageable. This is often done to residents with dementia. These individuals often have “behavioral problems,” such as wandering, resisting care, or “crying,” according to a report made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report states that more than 80 percent of “atypical antipsychotic drug claims” were for elderly nursing home residents who had not been diagnosed with a condition for which these drugs were FDA-approved.

Unfortunately, these drugs become a substitute for proper care, social activities, and other programs that can foster better mental and emotional health for these residents. They lead to a serious reduction in quality of life, decreased consciousness, and, in the worst cases, can lead to eventual decline and death. According to Human Rights Watch, antipsychotic drug abuse in nursing homes is rampant and doubles the risk of death in those with dementia.


bottom of page