Board and Care Homes:

Medication Mishandling Places Elderly at Risk

T-HRD-92-16: Published: Mar 13, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1992.

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GAO discussed the misuse and mismanagement of residents' medication in board and care homes for the elderly, focusing on whether: (1) board and care staff were knowledgeable about the proper handling of medication; (2) staff followed proper procedures for storing, supervising and assisting residents with taking medications; and (3) residents received appropriate medications. GAO noted that: (1) staff received little medication training, and frequently violated medication handling requirements; (2) state inspection procedures may not identify medication violations; (3) board and care home staff do not always maintain adequate medication records; and (4) in the homes visited, resident records included sufficient medical information to indicate that medications were appropriately prescribed for 20 of the 35 residents in its sample. GAO also noted that: (1) residents in homes that were in states that more strictly regulated board and care facilities were at less risk of medication errors than residents in states with less regulation; and (2) the Department of Health and Human Services should help states address medication handling issues and develop medication training programs.

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