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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Systematic review of the prevalence of medication errors resulting in hospitalization and death of nursing home residents.

Ferrah N, Lovell JJ, Ibrahim JE. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2017;65:433-442.

Older adults living in long-term care facilities face significant safety hazards. This systematic review examined medication errors in nursing homes and found a high prevalence of errors overall. The review revealed that a significant number of errors were related to handoffs and that 75% of these older patients received at least one potentially inappropriate medication. However, serious harm associated with medication use was reported for less than 1% of errors. The authors emphasize the difficulty of attributing harm to medications versus underlying illness in nursing home residents, and they call for designing safer systems for medication administration in nursing homes. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed challenges to ensuring patient safety in long-term care facilities.