State Lawmakers Propose Allowing Medical Techs To Administer Medications in Assisted Living Homes

A state bill would allow certified medical technicians to give pills and other medications to assisted living facility residents. Currently, that state only permits nurses to give medications.

Supporters of the bill say it was designed to allow nurses to spend more time with patients.

Lawmakers have said the supply of nurses isn't keeping up with the growth of elderly people needing long term care facilities, so they want to allow medical techs to give out medicine. "This would allow a nurse to be able to do more things and do her job better. It would allow her more quality patients, more one-on-one contact with the patients instead of her pushing the med cart down the hallway," said one lawmaker.

Twenty states currently allow this to happen. Another state representative said she is a nurse and she's worked in nursing homes. She said the techs lack the training and aren't able to gauge adverse reactions to the medicine."This is a terrible thing to do here in the state...," she said. She said there are already 100,000 deaths nationwide caused by medical error. In her opinion, this would lead to more."And I don't want us to look back a year or two later and say, 'We could have called that the euthanasia bill,' because that's what we can expect to happen," she said. For more, read the story.

Many different types of medication errors can occur, even when a nurse is administering the medication. Drugs are administered without a doctor’s order. The wrong dose of drugs is administered. A drug is administered by the wrong route. The wrong drug is given. The manufacturer’s specifications or accepted professional standards are not met. For example, a medication error occurs when medications are crushed despite manufacturer’s instructions and accepted professional standards that state “do not crush.” A medication error also occurs when the nursing home or assisted living facility does not give a drug at the correct time. Medications are required to be given to a patient within 60 minutes of the scheduled time of administration to be considered timely.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia. 

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