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I Was Given The Wrong Medication In A Care Home, Could I Claim Compensation?

How To Claim Compensation If A Nursing Home Gave The Wrong Medication

Care homes do an important job of caring for the most vulnerable people in society. They owe their residents a duty of care and are supposed to use safeguarding techniques to ensure that their residents are not mistreated in any way. If you or your close relative has been given the wrong medication in a care home, resulting in an injury, illness or the worsening of their medical condition, this is care home negligence. You could make a care home negligence medication error claim for compensation, for yourself, or on your relative’s behalf. Wrong medication claims can be worth a large sum of money, which can help pay for any care or medical treatment you, or your relative is in need of, so they are definitely worth pursuing.

Wrong medication in care home claims guide

Wrong medication in care home claims guide

To begin your care home malpractice claim, call Legal Expert today for your free consultation. We are a trusted personal injury solicitors firm, that can provide you with an excellent medical negligence solicitor to handle your claim. Call us today and one of our trusted advisors will speak to you in-depth and if we can see that you have legitimate grounds to claim compensation, we will provide you with an excellent lawyer to handle your case. Call Legal Expert 0800 073 8804 today, or use our online claims form, to get in contact with us, to begin your personal injury claims process now.

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A Guide To Claims If Harmed By The Wrong Medication In A Care Home

A care home is a residential care facility that provides round the clock care to people who are unable to live independently. Reasons, why someone may live in a care home, include being too elderly or infirm to take care of themselves, suffering from a condition which means that they have reduced mental faculties such as dementia, are suffering from a degenerative condition, or have a physical or mental impairment which means that they cannot look after themselves.

Part of a care home’s duty towards their residents is to provide them with the specific medical treatment they need, each and every day, as prescribed by their doctor. Some patients with serious medical conditions may need to be given medication several times a day, or there may be specific instructions about how the medication is to be taken. If a care home or nursing home gives a patient the wrong medication or makes another medication error such as missing out the patient’s medication, and the patient is injured, made ill or their medical condition is worsened as a result, this is care home negligence. As a result, the resident would have the right to sue the care home for negligence. If the resident is a child under the age of 18, or is not mentally competent their next of kin relative could act as a litigation friend and claim care home negligence compensation on the resident’s behalf. The compensation payout awarded will be used to benefit the person who was harmed. If you have a close next of kin relative who is now deceased, who was harmed because they were given the wrong medication by a care home, (or it was the reason for their death), you may also be able to make a care home wrong medication claim, on their behalf.

If you, or a next of kin relative has been harmed because of medication errors in a nursing home or care home, call Legal Expert today, to see if you are eligible to make a compensation claim. If we can see that you have a legitimate ground to claim, we can provide you with an excellent medical negligence lawyer, who will start working on your compensation claim right away.

What Is A Care Home Medication Error?

What is a medication error? A medication error is an incident where a medical practitioner makes an error in prescribing, dispensing, preparing, administering, or monitoring medication or providing advice on how a medication is supposed to be taken. A medication error can occur in many different types of medical settings. For example, a GP can prescribe a patient the wrong type, or the wrong quantity of medicine for the patient. A pharmacist may misread a patient’s prescription and dispense the wrong type of medication, the wrong quantity of medication or give the patient incorrect advice about how to take the medication.

At a care home or nursing home, the staff are not responsible for prescribing or dispensing medication to be given to the patients. However, they are responsible for preparing, administering and monitoring the patient’s intake of medication. They may also have to help the patient enact any advice given to them by their doctor about how to take the medication.

Examples of a wrong medication care home malpractice include:

  • The prescribed medication being not being given
  • The wrong dosage of medication being given, for example too much or too little
  • Medication being given at the wrong interval, for example, the medication is supposed to be dispensed every 6 hours, but the patient is only given it once a day
  • The patient is given medication that has not been prescribed to them.

When And Why Do People Move To A Care Home?

There are two types of care homes:

  1. Residential homes: Residential care homes provide accommodation and care to people who are no longer able to look after themselves. They may help with tasks such as washing, dressing, taking medication, or assistance at mealtimes, or assistance with walking. They may also provide activities and days out.
  2. Nursing homes: Nursing homes, also called care homes with nursing, are for people with more complex needs. In a nursing home, there will always be at least one qualified nurse available, on duty.

Someone may move to a residential care home because they and their family feel that they are no longer able to live on their own. For example, they may be too elderly or infirm to live independently. A social worker or occupational therapist appointed by the local council might have conducted a needs assessment and recommended that the person moves to a residential home. They will usually rule out other measures such as hiring a professional carer or adapting the person’s home, before recommending that they go into a home.

The reasons why someone may move to a nursing home may be that they are severely physically disabled, mentally disabled, or both. Or they have a medical condition which means that they need 24-hour medical care, for example, they need to be fed through a tube, or have a colostomy bag, which a medical professional has to change each time it is used. In other instances, the person may be too elderly or infirm to live alone.

Because many care home residents are vulnerable people, care homes must take extra special care not to make mistakes that could harm residents. For example, if a medication error in a nursing home or residential home occurs, the patient may not be able to notice an error that a nurse or carer has made, or communicate that they are feeling unwell as a result. There are also instances where a member of the care home team has withheld medication, or intentionally made a medication error, to willfully abuse or neglect the resident.

Care Home Operators Duty Of Care

All care homes have a duty of care towards their residents and other people who use their premises. This means that they are legally required to follow medical and health and safety regulations and professional best practices to ensure that residents receive an adequate standard of care.

If a care home fails to uphold their duty of care, providing a standard of care that is substandard, which results in the resident becoming injured, ill or their medical condition worsening, this is known as care home negligence, which is a form of medical negligence. Examples of care home malpractice include: accidentally injuring a patient when they move them, an employee abusing a care home resident or a nursing home giving the wrong medication. A negligent care home could be held liable for any injury bought onto a resident and the resident, or the resident’s litigation friend would have the right to sue the care home for negligence.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) sets out guidelines that care homes must follow, in order to be safe for residents. These are the standards that care home residents can expect:

  • That the care home equipment will be maintained to the correct standards.
  • That there are enough staff on duty, to keep residents safe at all times.
  • The staff are properly trained and qualified to carry out their tasks.
  • That any residents are protected from abuse, bullying and harassment. Examples of abuse include wilful neglect and financial abuse.
  • That any residents will have as much freedom to do what they want to do, within reason.
  • The staff give residents the correct dosage and type of medicine, as subscribed by their doctor. Where possible, they involve patients in reviewing the effectiveness of their medication and making decisions.
  • Staff ask residents for consent when involved in the resident’s personal care, or involve next of kin relatives where necessary.
  • The resident is treated with dignity and respect and does not suffer discrimination.

Causes Of The Wrong Medication Being Given In A Care Home

Care home residents may be on multiple medications simultaneously, which have to be taken at certain times of the day. Therefore, care homes have an organised system to ensure that residents receive the correct medication at the right time.

Unfortunately, accidents at nursing homes can happen, especially if the nursing home is understaffed or during shifts where the staff are under high levels of pressure. Here are some reasons why residents can be given the wrong medication in a nursing home:

  • A doctor has made an error prescribing the resident their medication.
  • A nursing home worker may be withholding medication to intentionally abuse a patient.
  • A nursing home worker may have a drug abuse problem and may withhold drugs from a patient, to use the drugs or sell them. This is abuse and stealing from the workplace.
  • Drug abuse amongst care home residents is more common than you might think. A resident in a nursing home may misrepresent their medical condition, in order to gain access to drugs. Staff at nursing homes should be vigilant and report if they believe that a patient is doing this.
  • A care home accidentally administers the wrong type of dosage of medication to a resident. If a nursing home gave the wrong medication this may be because of human error, a poor system to check that the medication is correct, or pressures on the worker. This is an avoidable error that should not happen.
  • Some medications need to be taken in a specific way, for example, they won’t work if taken with food. A care home worker giving a resident their medication in the wrong way can have a harmful effect.
  • The residents are given over the counter medication, which can have serious side effects when mixed with prescription medication. The resident’s doctor should be consulted before they give the resident over the counter drugs.

How The Wrong Medication Could Affect People

Care home errors such as administering the wrong medication can have devastating effects on residents. For example, if the resident is given an overdose of medication, this can cause severe side effects such as liver damage or cardiac arrest, which can result in the patient dying. If a resident is given too small amounts of medication, it may have little to no effect, causing their medical condition to worsen unnecessarily. If the patient is given the wrong type of medication, this may cause them to become ill, or experience unwanted side effects. This can happen if they are given medication which cannot be mixed with medication that they are already on. These are just some of the harmful effects caused by medication errors in care homes, in the UK.

Guidance On Handling Wrong Medication Negligence In The UK

When is a medication error reportable to CQC? The Health And Social Care Act of 2008 requires incidents involving a medication error to follow a serious medication error procedure, where the error is reported to the Care Quality Commission. What is reportable to safeguarding in relation to medication errors? As part of the care home’s safeguarding policy, care homes should have procedures they follow to deal with incidents and near misses.

How To Report Wrong Medication Incidents In A Care Home?

Medication error reporting in a care home should happen if the incident involves a near miss, the resident becoming harmed as a result of the error, the resident being abused, or it is a case that involves the police. The care home can contact the Care Quality Commission and their local NHS Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer.

Case Study – Medication Errors In Care Homes

Worryingly, a Care Home Use Of Medicines Study (CHUMS), 2009, found that nearly seven out of ten residents in a care home, suffered at least one medication error, on any given day. On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 meaning no harm at all and 10 meaning the patient died, the average medication error in a care home was ranked at 2.6 on a care home scale. You can read this NHS Article about Drug Errors In Care Homes to find out more about this study.

Wrong Medication In A Care Home Compensation Claims Calculator

If you have been harmed because of care home malpractice, such as receiving the wrong medication, you could make a care home negligence compensation claim. If your claim is successful, you will be awarded general damages for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity, caused by the wrong medication error. You will also be awarded special damages to compensate you for any out of pocket expenses you have experienced as a result of your injuries.

You can use our personal injury claims calculator to estimate how much compensation you could claim in general damages (excludes special damages).

Type of internal injuryLevel of this injuryNotesCompensation settlement (with 10% uplift)
Chest injuriesLevel-AIn such cases we are looking at internal chest injuries such as damage to the heart.£94,470 to £140,870
Damage to kidneysLevel-ACould include compensation for the loss of both kidneys, or compensation for severe damage to both of the kidneys.£158,970 to £197,480
Damage to kidneysLevel-BAt this level a claimant could face a significant risk of loss of kidney function, or risk of future illness and potential complications. Approximate maximum £60,050
Damage to kidneysLevel-CLevel C kidney damage claims may include an injury where one of the kidneys is lost, but where the remaining kidney is fully functional. £28,880 to £42,110
Non traumatic injuries(level iv)Non-traumatic injuries at this level of severity could lead to the claimant suffering symptoms including stomach cramps, pain and diarrhoea.£860 to £3,710
Non traumatic injuriesLevel (iii)This might include a non-traumatic injury or illnesses which causes some level of discomfort. The illness may last for several weeks and may require hospital treatment.£3,710 to £8,950
Non traumatic injuriesLevel (ii)Illnesses experienced will be relatively short-lived but will be serious. FThe claimant may find that their sexual or bowel functions are affected.£8,950 to £18,020
Non traumatic injuriesLevel (i)A non traumatic injury may include severe toxicosis. The claimant may have symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and pain.£36,060 to £49,270

Could I Claim Compensation For Care Costs And Other Expenses

One reason why people make personal injury claims is to receive special damages. Special damages are funds awarded to claimants to help them pay for any expenses they have incurred as a result of their injuries. If your injuries caused by care home negligence, meant you are now in need of medical treatment or specialist care, you can claim these expenses as special damages. Similarly if you are claiming on behalf of a next of kin relative, you can claim damages to pay for the medical treatment and residential care that they need. Other expenses that can be claimed as special damages include travel expenses and mobility equipment expenses.

No Win No Fee Claims For The Wrong Medication Given In A Care Home

At Legal Expert, we believe that everyone should have the choice to make a personal injury claim. That’s why we offer our clients a no win no fee option when they claim. With a no win no fee solicitor, you will not have to pay an upfront fee. Instead, your fee will be deducted from your final compensation settlement, if and when your claim is successful. What’s more, you will only have to pay your solicitors fee if your solicitor wins your claim, making it the less stressful option for many people. Read Legal Expert’s online guide to making a no win no fee claim, to learn more, or call us for your free consultation. If we can see that you have legitimate grounds to claim, we will provide you with an excellent personal injury solicitor to handle your case.

Why Choose Us For A Care Home Negligence Claim?

Legal Expert are a trusted personal injury claims law firm. We treat each client as an individual, take time value your claim and always push to win you the maximum amount of compensation you could be owed. Our panel of solicitors have up to thirty years of experience handling medical negligence claims, so you can feel assured that your care home negligence claim will be in good hands.

Start Your Wrong Medication In A Care Home Claim

If you have been made ill or had your pre-existing condition worsened because of receiving the wrong medication in a care home, contact Legal Expert to see if you have legitimate grounds to claim compensation. If you wish to claim on behalf of a relative, we can also help you. Call us today using the number above, or use our online claims form. If we can see that you are owed compensation for a wrong medication error, we will provide you with an excellent no win no fee solicitor to handle your case. Call today, we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Essential References

How Much Can I Claim For A Care Home Negligence Injury? – How much could you claim if injured due to care home negligence?

NHS Negligence Claims – How Much Compensation Can I Claim? – Our guide to claims for negligence by the NHS.

How Much Can I Claim For Doctor Or GP Negligence? – A guide to claims against a doctor or your GP.

External References

An NHS Guide To Drug Errors In Care Homes – A guide from the NHS about drug errors in care homes.

A Care Quality Commission Guide To What Clients Can Expect From A Good Care Home – A guide from the CQC on what to expect from a care home.

An NHS Guide To Care Homes – A general guide from the NHS on care homes.

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