Gori Julian & Associates, P.C.

Medication madness: The problem with hospital discharge

In most cases, the road to recovery for a patient is not over after hospital discharge. To facilitate recovery, a patient may be expected to take one or more medications for a certain period after leaving the hospital.

While the idea of taking medication may not sound problematic in the least, it can actually pose many risks to a patient's health. In fact, many patients experience serious issues with medications within a few weeks of the transition from the hospital to home.

Medication errors within the health care system

Medication errors are more common among patients who spend a lengthy period in the hospital, as well those who face a long road of recovery ahead of them after hospital discharge. Issues can result when any of the following occur:

  1. Lack of communication: In many cases, health care providers will supply an individual with medications without considering the prescriptions the patient was taking prior to hospital arrival. This usually results from a lack of communication between the patient's primary care team and the group of hospital professionals. Failure to evaluate other medications could result in an undesirable (and sometimes fatal) interaction between medications.
  2. Instructions: Another issue is failure of the hospital team to write clear medication instructions. This could lead to improper use.
  3. Post-discharge care: Errors may also result from limited post-discharge care by physicians. It is important to follow up after the individual leaves the facility.

With this in mind, how do we reduce these errors?

Proper communication among all involved parties is imperative. Not only should hospital professionals strive to have better communication with the primary care team, but they should also attempt to maintain regular contact with the actual patient.

Hospital nurses and physicians should to explain medication regimens more thoroughly and take the time to ensure that the patient fully comprehends post-discharge care. Moreover, the patient should be contacted regarding recovery and potential side effects after leaving the care facility.

Medication errors after hospital discharge are an incredibly serious issue. If you have endured difficulties after going home from the hospital, connect with a legal professional and talk about your experience.

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ALTON —Like any successful trial lawyer, John Hopkins knows the importance of preparation. But he usually doesn’t write out the questions he plans to ask witnesses in depositions or in court.

“I like to react to what the witness is saying—not only what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it,” Hopkins says.

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