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Hospital falls among senior patients linked to medication

Falls can be devastating for elderly adults in New Jersey, especially when the adults already had medical problems before the accident. A study at Mount Sinai Hospital found that falls among senior patients could be linked to incorrect dosages of prescription medicines. Researchers looked at 324 falls involving patients over the age of 65 that occurred over a 12-month period.

According to the study, nearly all of the elderly patients who fell at the hospital had taken one or more high-risk medication within the past 24 hours. Sixty-two percent of the falls involved patients who had taken one high-risk medication, and 32 percent of the falls involved patients who had taken two or three high-risk medications. In a lot of the cases, the patients who fell had been given higher dosages of a medication than what is typically recommended for seniors.

Researchers who conducted the study blamed electronic health records for the unsafe dosages. When a doctor inputs patient data into the electronic system, it a default dose that may not be appropriate for an elderly patient. The default dose that is usually displayed is one that would be safe for an average adult. Many of the medications that are prescribed to the elderly patients are sleeping and pain pills.

This type of error can rise to the level of hospital negligence if it can be determined that the health care facility or its staff failed to exercise the requisite standard of care. The family members of an elderly loved one who has been injured in a fall as a result of being given an improper dosage of medication may want to meet with an attorney and discuss their situation.

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