Could I Claim Compensation If I Was Given The Wrong Medication In A Care Home?

By Jo Jeffries. Last updated 30th November 2022. Welcome to our guide to claiming for medication errors in care homes. Here, we explain how there could be problems when administering medication in a care home leading you to be given the wrong medication. We also show you how care home wrong medication claims work and how compensation for care home negligence could be calculated. If you would like to claim for nursing home medication errors that have caused you harm, this guide could help.

Choosing your care home is something that could be considered a big decision. You may have spent lots of time researching the quality of the care you could receive in such a home and would expect that taking the time to research the decision and choose your care home would give you the best chance of your care needs being met. But what happens if you were given the wrong medication in a care home? Could this cause you real harm? And, if so, is there anything you could do about it. In this guide, we’ll look at when care home wrong medication claims might be needed.

Nursing home medication errors – Could you claim?

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Care home medication error claims guide

Here, we take a look at care home negligence, and specifically, what happens if the wrong medication is given in a care home. Guidance in the sections below aims to cover all of the important information you may need to know if this has happened to you, along with showing what kind of compensation you could be eligible for if you were to make a personal injury claim for a medication error at a care home. Should you require information that is not included here, or you’d like a free assessment of your eligibility to claim, call Accident Claims UK on 0800 073 8801, and we’ll gladly advise you. Otherwise, why not take a look at the sections below to see if your questions have already been answered.

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A Guide To Claims If You Were Given The Wrong Medication In A Care Home

If you have been given the wrong medication in a care home, and it has caused you to suffer harm, you may be wondering who do you report medication errors to, and is there any action you could take to redress the balance. This guide aims to explain all you may need to know about what duty of care a care home or nursing home has towards patient safety and what happens if standards are not met and you suffer harm as a result. This guide focuses specifically on the wrong medication being given in a care home, but it would also be prudent to mention that if you have been harmed in another way because of care home negligence, you could also be eligible for compensation.

What Harm Could Nursing Home Medication Errors Cause?

There are a variety of different effects that a mediation error could have on you. Your medical condition might not get better if you receive too low a dose of medication, or you could suffer an overdose if you are given too much. If you are given medication you are allergic to, you could suffer a reaction, and if you are given a drug that interacts with other medication you are taking, you could suffer an interaction. These could affect you in the short-term, or they could cause permanent damage.

Included in this guide is information about what to do if you are a victim of medication errors in nursing or care homes, and how you could go about claiming compensation. There is a section on how much compensation you could be entitled to claim, as well as guidance on finding a personal injury lawyer to assist with your claim.

Please call us today if you’d like free legal advice on starting care home wrong medication claims.

Medication Errors In Care Homes – How Do Medication Errors Occur?

Administering medication in a care home is something that should be done with care. Processes and protocols should be followed by staff to ensure that the risk of nursing home medication errors is reduced. If you’re wondering what a medication error is, we can look to the CQC website.

Their definition is that a medication error is a safety incident due to errors while prescribing, preparing, providing, dispensing or monitoring medication. There could be several types of nursing home medication errors, just as there could be in hospitals or other medical settings. 

These could include:

  • Errors of omission – these could happen where there are failures to adequately monitor or provide medication when it is necessary to do so.
  • Errors of commission – these happen when the wrong medication or wrong dose of medication is provided.

What happens when there are medication errors in care homes?

Medication errors in care homes can cause a number of unwanted problems. If there are problems with administering medication in care homes that lead to an overdose, the result could even be fatal. If you have been detrimentally affected by care home negligence relating to your medication, please call our team. We could determine whether you could be eligible to claim compensation.

How You Could Be Affected By The Wrong Medication

There are many ways in which being given the wrong medication in a care home could affect you. These could include:

Drug interaction – If you have been given the wrong medication by a care home, it could interact with other medications you are already taking.

Side-effects – Some medications have side effects associated with them. If you receive the wrong medication and suffer side effects from this, it could affect you in different ways, depending on the medication you’ve been given.

Overdose – If you have been given too high an amount of medication, due to a medication error by the nursing home or care home, this could cause an overdose, which could affect how your body works.

Allergy – If you are given the wrong medication by a care home, you could suffer an allergic reaction to it.

Undertreatment – the wrong medication or the wrong dosage could cause your medical condition not to be treated optimally, which could make your condition worse.

If you have been affected by any of the above, you could be eligible to claim compensation.

What Duty Of Care Do Care Homes Have To Residents?

Care homes have a duty of care to their residents, and if they do not live up to the minimum standards of care as detailed by the CQC, this could cause you to suffer harm and could constitute neglect. Care home standards should ensure:

  • You have care that is person-centred
  • You are treated with dignity
  • You are treated with respect
  • You or someone acting on your behalf should give consent before you receive treatment or care
  • You should not be put at risk
  • You should not be given care that is unsafe
  • Staff caring for you should be appropriately trained, experienced and competent
  • You should be protected from abuse
  • You should receive enough to drink and to eat
  • The premises you are in should be clean, well-maintained and suitable for your needs
  • You should be able to make CQC care home complaints if you are not happy with your care
  • And more…

If a care home has not met the minimum standards of care and you are harmed as a result, then you could claim compensation for care home negligence. Please call today to find out how we can help with care home wrong medication claims on a No Win No Fee basis.

Why Residents Need Support In Care Homes

As we age, we could develop conditions that leave us unable to look after ourselves properly. You may need to consider going into a care home if:

  • You are having trouble with taking care of yourself when living on your own, even if you have support from friends and family
  • You have had an assessment that suggests that you might need care services in a home
  • You require day and night assistance with a medical condition

While there are other options that you may consider when looking into your care needs, care homes could be an appropriate option for you.

However, it would be wise to research your potential nursing home carefully to make sure that it offers the level of care you need, and has the facilities you are looking for.

It could be considered vital for a care home to offer a high standard of care, and you can check the care home CQC standards on their website before you make a choice of which home you would like to go into.

Why Do Medication Errors Happen In Care Homes?

There could be a variety of reasons why a patient may have been given the wrong medication in a care home. These could include:

Errors by the physician – Whether as a result of misdiagnosis or clerical error, a physician could prescribe the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. If you have suffered harm because of this, then you may be able to claim for medical negligence from the doctor that made the medication error.

Intentional – While this could be considered rare, there could be incidents where an intentional medication error could cause a patient to suffer harm. This could be the case if a care home worker was trying to sedate a patient, for example, and intentionally gave a higher dosage than required.

Medication being administered incorrectly – If someone working in a care home miscounted the number of tablets that they were giving to a patient, for example, then that patient could suffer an overdose, or not get enough medication to treat their condition.

Food/Vitamin interactions – Some medications may interact with foods or vitamins. If a care home has given a patient some food or a vitamin tablet that has interacted with medication that the patient was already taking, this could cause medical issues.

In order to make a compensation claim for care home errors in providing medication, you would need to prove that the care or nursing home gave the wrong medication, and this care home negligence led to the patient suffering avoidable harm.

Guidance On Handling Wrong Medication Errors

According to the NHS, care homes should have reporting arrangements in place for near-misses, drug errors, adverse reactions to medications, and other medication incidents.

These should be communicated clearly to those who work in the care home. If a patient requires medical assistance because they have been given the wrong medication in a care home, or have had a drug reaction, this assistance should be sought immediately. The CQC should be notified for those incidents that are classed as notifiable, which we explain below. Policies regarding medication should include the reactions to take in the event of a medication error, near miss or another incident. In addition to this, policies and incidents should be reviewed regularly.

Guidelines For Reporting Medicine Errors To The CQC

If you have received the wrong medication in a care home, you may be wondering do you report such medication errors to the CQC. When it comes to reporting medicine errors, the following CQC medication errors reporting guidelines should be followed.

Medication errors should be reported internally, and external organisations should also be notified where appropriate to do so. While it is not necessary to report all drug errors in care homes to the CQC, the following circumstances would qualify a report being made:

  • Incidents that have been reported or are being investigated by police
  • Allegations of abuse
  • Incidents of abuse
  • Injuries
  • Death

Case Study – Care Home Medication Errors

According to the NHS website, a study by the Guardian found that almost 70% of those part of the study had experienced a wrong medication error. However, it would be prudent to note that the average level of harm of these cases was scored at 2.6/10.

256 people across 55 care homes in the UK (In Central London, West Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire) were studied in the investigation, and errors included dosages and how the medication was taken.

It was found that out of the 256 included in the study, 178 of them experienced an error with their medication. The most common type of prescribing error (87.6%) was incomplete information in the prescription. Monitoring errors, where patients were given the right prescription but not monitored, of the 147 residents on drugs that needed monitoring, 18.4% experienced an error.

The Department of Health, on receiving this information, said it was working closely with the CQC to address the issues that were found with medication errors and completing a major review which would include medication safety.

Calculating Compensation For The Wrong Medication In A Care Home

Nursing home medication errors could cause a number of different problems. These may be physical in nature, but such errors could also cause psychological harm and financial harm too. When working out how much compensation for a wrong medication claim could be appropriate, legal professionals will look at the facts and circumstances of each unique case.

Factors that could impact the compensation for a care home medication error claim could include:

  • How severe the physical impact of being given the wrong medication was
  • If it caused any long-term health problems
  • The impact on the claimant’s mental health
  • Whether the claimant suffered any financial losses because of being given the wrong medication.

Legal professionals could also look at the Judicial College Guidelines when assessing claims in England and Wales. This is a publication that contains compensation brackets for different types of harm. It can help legal professionals calculate the value of the harm sustained due to receiving wrong medication.

We’ve used some figures from the publication to populate the table below. However, for more specific guidance, you could call our team, who would be happy to help.

Injury Notes Compensation Bracket
Severe Toxicosis Diarrhoea, vomiting and fever, as well as serious pain could be experienced by claimants whose cases fall into this bracket. Admission to hospital could be involved, with patients being required to remain in hospital for some time. Patients in this bracket may be left with IBS, and other persisting symptoms. These could affect their ability to enjoy a normal working life and social life. £38,430 to £52,500
Poisoning (Serious, yet sort-lived) Claimants whose cases fall into this bracket could experience short-lived but serious vomiting and diarrhoea. Symptoms may begin to lessen within 2-4 weeks, but some disturbance could remain in terms of sex-life, food enjoyment, bowel function and more. £9,540 to £19,200
Poisoning Cramps, fatigue and changes in bowel function could occur in cases that fall into this bracket. A hospital stay may be required for a number of days. While some symptoms could last for weeks, it would be likely that that claimant would recover fully within 1-2 years. £3,950 to £9,540
Poisoning Where there are varying desgrees of diarrhoea, pain, and cramping. These could last between a few days and a few weeks but could be considered disabling. £910 to £3,950
Kidney damage If there is a significant risk of loss of natural function, or of developing infection, cases could fall into this bracket. A substantial level of medical-related expenses would be expected for these cases. Up to £63,980
Damage to the bowel Where a severe injury could cause a serious impairment of bowel function. The claimant’s ability to work could be affected and they may have to restrict what they eat. £44,590 to £69,730
Mental trauma Fear of impending loss of life £4,670
Epileptic conditions Various £10,640 to £26,290
Brain Injury Minor £2,210 to £12,770

Expenses And Care Costs Which You Could Be Compensated For

As well as the compensation for the harm you’ve suffered from having the wrong medication given to you in a nursing home or care home, you could also receive special damages.

These are different to the amounts in the table above. Special damages would be paid out to cover costs and losses you’ve incurred directly because of being given the wrong medication. These could include care costs, medical costs and transport costs. If you are claiming on behalf of a loved one who has passed away after being given the wrong medication in a care home, you could claim funeral costs as special damages.

No Win No Fee Wrong Medication Claims Against Care Homes

If you would like to begin a claim for being given the wrong medication in a care home and the harm it has done to you, you may be under the misapprehension that you would have to pay for any legal assistance upfront. This would not be the case if you chose to work with a No Win No Fee personal injury solicitor. This is because, instead of paying upfront to make a No Win No Fee claim, you would agree on a success fee with your care home negligence solicitor, which would be documented in a Conditional Fee Agreement.

If your personal injury lawyer fulfilled the conditions of the agreement, and achieved a compensation settlement for you, you would pay this success fee, which would be a percentage of your compensation, on completion of your case. If your solicitor was not able to get you any compensation, but you had launched a valid claim, then the success fee would not be payable.

Why Make Your Wrong Medication Claim With Us?

There are lots of options for potential claimants to get advice and support with making personal injury claims, but here at Accident Claims UK, we believe we could offer everything you may be looking for in terms of advice, experience and support. We have been operating for many years and over this time, we have helped many clients claim compensation for a range of different personal injury and medical negligence cases. Many of our previous clients could attest to our fantastic level of service and professionalism.

We could offer you a free, no-obligation assessment to see if you could be eligible for compensation, and we would also be able to answer your questions about the claims process, as well as your specific case, giving actionable advice and guidance to you. If we believe, upon assessment, that your case could be a successful one, we could offer to provide you with one of our panel of personal injury lawyers, who could then begin your claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

Contact Our Team Today

If you’d like us to offer you a free eligibility assessment of your case, to see if you could make a claim for being given the wrong medication by a care home, then we’d be delighted to help. We could also assist if you wanted to begin a claim for a situation such as the medication errors in care homes we described, or if you have further questions. We can be reached in a variety of ways. You could call the Accident Claims UK helpline, on 0800 073 8801, email, or even use the live chat or contact form on the site. Whichever way you wish to get in touch with us, you’ll find we’re ready to help you.

Care home wrong medication claims FAQs

Now we are going to look at some common questions which may crop up when your thinking about starting a claim.

When might care home wrong medication claims be needed?

If a care home resident suffers avoidably because they are given the wrong medication, a claim to cover that suffering might be possible. Errors that could lead to a claim include being given the wrong drug, somebody else’s prescription, the wrong dose or being given medication at the wrong time.

How do I prove a loved one was harmed by the wrong medication?

Proving care home negligence can be tricky. Using a personal injury specialist may make the process easier. They can request copies of medical records and dispensing records to check what drugs were given. They could also arrange for an independent specialist to check how the wrong medication has affected your loved one.

Can I claim on behalf of a loved one who’s suffered in a care home?

If your relative or loved one doesn’t have the mental capacity to take legal action themselves, then you could represent them as a litigation friend. This process means you’ll deal with solicitors and courts (if needed) and act in your loved one’s best interests.

Are there any time limits that apply?

Usually, a 3-year time limit applies in medical negligence cases. However, if the claimant doesn’t have the mental capacity to claim, the time limit will not apply.

For free advice on making care home wrong medication claims, please call today.

Supporting Resources

Below, you can find more guides you may find useful:

Thank you for taking the time to read out care home wrong medication claims guide. Please feel free to call if you have any questions about medication errors in care homes.

Article by JJ

Edited by MM.