HealthDay News — According to a review published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, medication errors (MEs) occur frequently among nursing home residents, but they rarely have serious effects.

In a systematic review, Noha Ferrah, MD, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues evaluated the prevalence of MEs leading to hospitalization and death in NH residents and factors associated with death and hospitalization. 

 

There were 11 studies that met the inclusion criteria and assessed all MEs (5 studies), transfer-related MEs (5 studies) and potentially inappropriate medications (PIMS; 1 study).

The researchers found that MEs were common, involving 16 to 27% and 13 to 31% of residents in studies examining all MEs and transfer-related MEs, respectively, and 75% of residents were prescribed at least 1 PIM. Serious effects of MEs were low and reported in only 0 to 1% of MEs, with death occurring rarely.

“Whether MEs resulting in serious outcomes are truly infrequent or are underreported because of the difficulty in ascertaining them, remains to be elucidated to assist in designing safer systems,” the authors write.

Reference

Ferrah N, Lovell JJ and Ibrahim JE. “Systematic Review Of The Prevalence Of Medication Errors Resulting In Hospitalization And Death Of Nursing Home Residents”. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2016. doi: DOI: 10.1111/jgs.14683. [Epub ahead of print]

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