By Stephen Lambert. Last Updated 26th October 2022. Unfortunately, there are times when a third party that owes us a duty of care could breach their legal obligation, and in return, this could cause a plethora of devastating damages. In some scenarios, a care home error could be caused by poor practice or inadequate policies. Receiving the wrong medication in a care home can have a life-altering effect. Within this online guide, it shall discuss how the negligence of a third party could cause a medication error in a nursing home. If when reading this guide you have any additional questions, why not contact a member of our team? Our phone lines are free to call, and our knowledgeable advisers can offer free legal advice of no obligation.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Claiming When The Wrong Medication Was Given In A Care Home
- What Does It Mean To Be Given The Wrong Medication In A Care Home?
- Causes Of Care Home Medication Errors
- What Could Be The Impact Of The Wrong Medication On A Care Home Resident?
- What Duty Of Care Do Care Homes Have?
- How To Prove Medication Errors In Care Homes
- How To Report A Medicine Related Incident In A Care Home
- NHS Research Into Care Home Medication Errors
- Calculating Compensation For The Wrong Medication
- Time limits To Claim Compensation For A Wrong Medication Error By A Care Home
- No Win No Fee Care Home Wrong Medication Negligence Claims
- How Medical Negligence Assist Could Help You
- Start A Claim Today
- Supporting Resources
In many scenarios, carers provide medication, emotion support, and assistance with daily tasks. Care homes are an excellent way to provide support for those who require around the clock care, and those who choose to live in a care home are entitled to feel safe, comfortable, and supported. Unfortunately, there are situations where a care home resident could become injured or ill due to the negligence of a third party. Throughout this online guide, it shall discuss care home negligence in great length, outing the roles and responsibilities carers have towards their residents.
You’ll find the answers to the following questions throughout this guide:
- What is medical negligence in a care home?
- What is a medication error, and how are they caused?
- Who is at fault for a care home error?
- Do care homes have a duty of care to their residents?
- What is a No Win No Fee Agreement?
- How could Medical Negligence Assist help me?
If when reading this guide you have additional questions, why not contact a member of our team? Our phone lines are free to call, and our knowledgeable advisers are always happy to speak with you. Not only can our advisers answer your questions, but they can offer free legal advice (of no obligation). So if wish to speak to someone regarding your potential claim, why not call Medical Negligence Assist today.
While frustrating, those that have been given the wrong medication might not demonstrate symptoms or side-effects. However, there are cases where a medication error could cause adverse effects, and in some cases, a mistake of this nature could result in death. The General Medical Council (GMC) states that those who dispense medication should be extremely knowledgeable, follow protocol, and conduct themselves with precision and carefulness. But despite these requirements, there are cases where a mediation error in a care home could be caused by negligence. There are various ways a mistake of this nature could occur, so to illustrate a greater understanding, we have provided a list.
Administrate Error– This is where an administrate error causes the wrong dosage, medication, or label.
Prescription Error – This is where a patient is prescribed with medication that is either incorrect or not applicable to their illness/injury
Transcribing Error – This is where the instructions for a prescription haven’t been made clear, leading to confusion or misinterpretation.
Diagnosis Errors – This is where a patient is given a wrong diagnosis, and as a result, takes medication for the wrong illness/injury.
One of the most common causes of a medication error often relates back to training. In their Managing Medicines In Care Homes document, Nice.org state that cares home providers should have a medicine policy set in place. This will ensure all staff members are knowledgeable and are upholding a high quality of care. This idea is outlined within the safeguard section of the document, and it suggests that medicine policies should be reviewed frequently. This will allow the care home to evaluate their staff member’s abilities and knowledge of medicine, but it also allows them to outline what works and what is useful. The General Medical Council (GMC) has highlighted the importance of medication, declaring that all medical professionals (regardless of their level) must:
- Be Knowledgeable
- Have open and robust levels of communication
- Maintain trust
- And uphold their obligation to quality
From allergic reactions, harmful drug interactions, to overdosage, there are numerous ways a medication error could cause injury, illness, and harm. In some cases, those that have been provided with the wrong medication might become sicker, display adverse symptoms, or in extreme cases, a medication error could cause death. Both the GP prescribing the medication and the caregivers handling the medication should be highly trained and fully aware of your medical background. For example, if you have an allergy to penicillin, both the GP and the care home should be fully aware of your allergy, ensuring you are not exposed to penicillin-based treatments. However, if you have an allergy and are neglectfully exposed to a harmful ingredient, you could enter a state of anaphylaxis, which could lead to additional health complications. This could be considered a breach in the duty of care, and you could have grounds to claim compensation.
To make a claim against a care home for a medication error, you must have:
- Had an adverse reaction to the medication provided.
- The medication must have affected a pre-existing condition.
- Or, you must have suffered an allergic reaction.
A duty of care is often defined as a legal and ethical obligation to the health and well-being of others. If someone owes you a duty of care, they must ensure they uphold it at all times. The UK Government has effectively outlined the requirements of a care home. They state that all care homes (within the UK) are required to meet the Department of Health’s standards, and a failure to comply with these standards could be considered a breach in the duty of care. In the event a duty of care has been breached, it could make a care home liable for the injuries and illnesses they have caused.
Regarding medication error claims, it is important to gather evidence that establishes that an error was made. due to a breach of duty of care, in giving the claimant the correct medication and that this caused the claimant harm.
Different forms of evidence can be gathered that could potentially establish medical negligence. Examples may include:
- Medical records
- Proof of prescription
- Witness statements from anyone who witnessed the medication error or the effects it had on the victim
You can contact Medical Negligence Assist for advice on claims for medication errors in care homes and what evidence you may be able to gather if you’re making a claim.
Like previously stated, high-quality care is critical. The importance of quality has been echoed by The Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC monitors, inspects and regulates the services that are provided to ensure safety and quality within the care industry. The CQC has outlined what they expect from care homes, which is encapsulated by their five questions:
- Is it safe?
- Is it effective?
- Is it caring?
- Is it responsible to people’s needs?
- Is it well-led?
If you have endured a degree of pain or suffering due to a negligent medication error, you might be questioning when is a medication error reportable to the Care Quality Commission (CQC)? Reporting minor incidents internally and to the relevant external sources is often the recommended approach. However, if you or a loved one have endured an injury, prolonged illness, or have died due to medical malpractice, then you should contact the CQC and notify them immediately.
In 2009, The Guardian released a case study that found an alarming level of drug errors in care homes. The study questioned and explored 256 elderly from 55 different care homes. The mistakes include errors in dosage, how drugs should be taken. Later within the report, it highlights that nearly 70% of care home residents had at least one medication error. However, it is essential to highlight the severity of the mistakes that were made, which were rated average 2.6 on a 10 point scale. Overall, 178 of the 256 (65.5%) care home residents had an error in their regular medication. Although the severity of the mistakes was of a minor level, they are errors none of the less.
If you have grounds to make a claim, you might be questioning how much compensation you could be entitled to? Two categories of damages can be taken into consideration when claiming compensation, and they are known as General Damages and Special Damages. General damages could be awarded to those that experience physical injury and psychological trauma after an accident. When pursuing a claim for general damages, you must supply medical evidence (such as a medical report) that outlines the severity of your injuries.
Those seeking compensation for general damages might be questioning how much compensation they could be entitled to? For your convenience, we have provided a personal injury claims calculator. The figures within the table are based on the Judicial College Guidelines. However, if you pursue a claim for compensation, it is worth remembering that all claims are unique to the individual circumstances and damages that have been inflicted. The compensation you could be entitled to may differ from the figures that have been listed within the table.
|£169,400 to £210,400
|In this bracket, kidney damage of this severity refers to the permanent damage to or the loss of both Kidneys.
|Up to £63,980
|Kidney damage is where there is a permanent risk of future urinary tract infection, or, the total loss of natural kidney function.
|£30,770 to £44,880
|Kidney damage of this nature refers to the loss of one kidney with no damage to the other.
|Up to £184,200
|In cases of this nature, it would involve the total loss of natural bowel function and the loss of urinary function. In many cases, an injury of this severity will lead to medical complications.
|£12,590 to £24,480
|Injuries causing some permanent damage but with an eventual return to natural function and control. Injuries causing some permanent damage but with an eventual return to natural function and control.
|£43,060 to £65,740
|Severe asthma is often expect to have a permanent and disabling affect, causing prolonged and regular coughing, the disturbance of sleep, and the severe impairment of physical activity.
|£26,290 to £43,010
|Asthma of this nature is expected to be of a chronic level, causing difficulties when breathing. In many cases, the affected individual will require an inhaler, and their career prospects could be affected.
|£19,200 to £26,290
|Moderate levels of Asthma are often connected to bronchitis, wheezing, and there is a likelihood of substantial recovery over several years.
|Up to £5,150
|Minor cases of Asthma are in connection to colds, chest problems, and bronchitis. In many cases, this will be resolved within a matter of months.
|£38,430 to £52,500
|Severe toxicosis involves pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, and a fever. In most cases, this will requires hospital admission and could impact both social and work life.
|Mental anguish refers to the impending fear of death or a lesser quality of life after an accident.
In addition to General Damages, those that have been affected by a negligent third party could be awarded Special Damages. Special Damages are often awarded to those that experience a monetary loss after an accident. To create a clearer understanding of the different types of financial loss, we have provided a list.
- Medical Expenses
- Travel Cost
- The Cost of Care
- Lost Earnings
- Lowered Career Potential
To make a claim for compensation, the claim must be made within the personal injury claims time limit. Essentially, you have three years to begin your claim for compensation. Once the time limit surpasses the three-year mark, it would hinder the claims process. Although a claim must be made within the standard time frame, there are cases where the time limit could come into action at a later date. For example, if a medication error goes unacknowledged and causes you pain and suffering, the time limit would come into effect once these damages have officially been diagnosed.
If you have valid grounds to make a claim against a negligent care home, then a solicitor from our panel could handle your claim under No Win No Fee Agreement. A financial arrangement of this nature is created between the solicitor and the claimant, and if the claim has a successful outcome, you as the claimant will be required to pay a success fee. This payment would be subsidised from the final settlement and is generally capped by law at 25%. If a solicitor takes on a claim and is unsuccessful, a No Win No Fee agreement reduces the threat to your finances, meaning you will not be required to pay your solicitor fees. If you require further information, an adviser from our team is always happy to speak with you in greater length.
If you have been affected by care home negligence and you’d like to make a claim, get in touch. Here at Medical Negligence Assist, we could connect those that have been affected by medical negligence to a solicitor from our panel. We work with an established panel of solicitors that are well versed in personal injury law that have up to thirty years’ experience. So if you have endured a medication error in a nursing home that has caused your harm, please contact a member of our team today.
If you have suffered due to a medication error, you could have grounds to claim compensation. To begin a claim, why not contact a member of our team? Our expert advisers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they can offer free legal advice of no obligation. Alternately, if you wish to begin your claim, you could enquire online. A member of our team will review your submission and contact you.
To speak with an adviser, the number to call is 0800 652 3087.
If you wish to enquire online, please click here.
A claim against a negligent care home may appear both daunting and complex, so we hope this online guide has been of use. In the section below, we have provided some additional materials that we believe could be of use.
Could I Have Grounds To Make A Claim For A Misdiagnosis?
Clinical Negligence Claims
How To Make A Claim Against A Private Hospital.
Care Home Claims
Could I Make A Claim Against A Care Home For The Treatment I’ve Received?
Care Quality Commission
If you would like to know more about potentially claiming if wrong medication is given in a care home, please get in touch with us by using the contact details highlighted above.
Written by Michael
Edited by LisM.