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Who should perform medication reviews at nursing homes?

There are many important medication-related tasks that health care professionals at nursing homes perform. One of these tasks is medication reconciliation. This is when the medications residents are being given are reviewed to check to see if there are any discrepancies present that could lead to medication problems.

Currently, medication reconciliations at nursing homes are a task that both licensed practical nurses and registered nurses can find themselves assigned. A recent study indicates, however, that one of these classes of nurses may be better suited for this task than the other.

The study looked at a group of nurses that worked at nursing homes. Some of the nurses were RNs while others were LPNs. The researchers investigated how often the nurses detected discrepancies regarding high-risk drugs. According to the researchers' findings, the RNs detected such discrepancies much more frequently than the LPNs.

This suggests that the skill set of RNs might be better a better fit for discrepancy detection than the skill set of LPNs.

It is very important for medication reconciliations at nursing homes to be done properly, carefully and accurately. This is because early detection of discrepancies can help with such discrepancies being corrected before they have the chance to negatively impact residents. Medication problems could lead to significant harm for a nursing home resident. Given this study's findings, do you think nursing homes should have medication reconciliation be something that is primarily done by RNs rather than LPNs?

When a nursing home resident experiences a harmful medication problem at a nursing home, they should consider having a medical malpractice attorney look into whether the conduct of the nursing home or its nurses regarding medications was responsible for the problem. Legal action may be possible when missteps by a nursing home or its nurses led to medication mistakes.

Source: Claims Journal, "Registered Nurses More Likely to Identify High-Risk Medication Discrepancies in Elderly Patients," Dec. 16, 2015

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