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Treatment the leading threat to elderly patient safety

October 27, 2015
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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Antibiotics are most likely to cause older patients serious or sentinel injury, according to a report published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Researchers analyzed data from New Zealand’s no-fault accident insurance claims, which allows study of all types of safety incidents, including minor incidents and incidents not associated with error or negligence.

People age 65 and up suffered a disproportionate number of severe injuries. Medication was the leading cause of injury at 72 percent followed by delay or failure to diagnose or treat injury at 12 percent.  

Antibiotics were the leading cause of medication injury at 39 percent followed by warfarin at 14 percent. There was no suggestion of error or mismanagement for most medication injuries.

“To improve patients safety, we need to look beyond reducing error to include reducing patients’ exposure to treatment risk, where appropriate—in particular the risk posed by medication,” according the report.  

Read the full study here.

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