New York families who have elderly relatives living in nursing homes may be interested to learn that, according to a study, registered nurses are more equipped to identify medication order discrepancies than licensed practical nurses. These mistakes often occur when patients are being moved between hospitals and different nursing homes.
During the study, RNs and LPNs were asked to describe their roles when dealing with medication reconciliation. The nurses described their duties when it came to communicating with hospital staff and the rules and regulations of the different nursing homes. However, when asked about performing medication reconciliation, the RNs appeared to be more concerned about knowing the patient’s clinical condition and the accuracy and safety of the medication. LPNs, on the other hand, were more concerned about time management and appeared to be more likely to make assumptions about medication orders. Further, they were also more likely to fail to recognize how complex some medical conditions can be.
Ultimately, the study noted that both RNs and LPNs played valuable and critical roles in patient care and safety. However, the study did state that nursing home leaders should acknowledge that the two different types of nurses play different roles and that having RNs on staff can improve patient care.
Medication errors can be extremely damaging to a patient’s health. For example, a dosage mistake or the incorrect drug can cause serious harm to a patient or even result in a death. If families are trusting doctors and nursing home staff to provide safe treatment for their loved ones and a medication error occurs, a medical malpractice attorney may provide legal representation. The attorney may determine where the mistakes occurred and whether or not the healthcare staff was following proper medical procedures. If malpractice did occur, the family may be able to seek compensation for the harm that was caused.