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Medication errors in care homes

A report has highlighted the extent of medication errors in care homes in England

A new report has highlighted the extent of medication errors in care homes in England. The Department of Health (DH) funded the research, on which the report was based, to establish the extent of the problem and to enable solutions to be developed. The multicentre study involved 256 older people in 55 care homes. 

Patients were taking a mean of 7.2 medicines each and 69.5 per cent experienced one error. The study did not find any incidence of harm caused by these errors – which included mistakes in prescribing, monitoring and administration – but the report's authors point out that such mistakes could cause health problems to develop over time.

Suggestions to improve safety include appointing a preferred GP per home with access to their practice computer and taking action to improve patient monitoring. The authors also suggest that the pharmacist should review drug regimens regularly and take responsible for the safety of the whole medicines system in the care home.

6th October 2009

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