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Discharge from the hospital can be a risky time for patients

Medication errors after discharge can create severe injury or death

The transition from the hospital to home, nursing home or other facility is also a critical time in a person's recovery. Every medical professional assisting in this transition must properly manage the processes in order to give patients the best chance at a complete recovery. Failure at any point in the process can result in devastating injuries or even death.

The most common type of error after a patient's release from the hospital is a medication error. Medical providers at all stages need to coordinate to ensure that patients receive the proper medication in the proper amount. Unfortunately, this coordination does not always happen. A Kaiser Health News study found that more than 3,000 home health agencies between 2010 and 2015 failed to adequately review or track medications for new patients.

How do medication errors happen?

The primary reason for medication errors after patient discharge is lack of communication between hospitals and pharmacies, nursing home and home care providers. According to federal data, more than half of discharged patients fail to fully understand discharge instructions. A 2013 Office of the Inspector General report indicated that a third of nursing homes failed to assess patient needs, including medication needs. Lastly, Kaiser Health News reports that one in eight home care facilities had substantially deficient medication reviews.

Pharmacies also play a major role in ensuring medication errors do not occur. Pharmacies must have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure that patients receive the right drug in the right dose. Furthermore, pharmacies should have measures to make sure that mixing various prescriptions does not have negative impacts.

By communicating with patients and each other, health care professionals can give patients the best chance of an effective, health transition from hospital to home.

If you or someone you love has sustained a serious injury due to a medication error or other type of malpractice, or if someone you love has been killed due to malpractice, a lawyer can be instrumental in helping you recover appropriate damages. For years, families and individuals across Washington D.C. ad beyond have placed their trust in Fay Law Group, P.A.

Source: Hospital discharge: It's one of the most dangerous periods for patients, Washington Post, by Jordan Rau, April 29, 2016

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