Article on BBC website by Nick Triggle 5 October 2009
University of London researchers found seven in 10 elderly people living in care homes were victims of drug errors, having carried out half-day snapshot inspections of 55 homes. They blamed "inadequate information, over-worked staff, poor teamwork and often complex courses of medication."
The study gathered data on 256 residents from a morning's medication. In total, mistakes were made in 178 cases with many the victims of more than one error.
The most common mistakes involved wrong dosages, insufficient monitoring of residents after medication had been taken and people being given the drug at the wrong time. Most were only minor, although one resident did suffer a thyroid complication.
Care home residents are being given more complex courses of medication. In this study the residents received an average of eight different pills a day.