Medication mistakes in aged care are made all the time. It’s how quickly they are picked up that is important. 

We invited members of our community to share their experiences and perspectives of aged care services. Disclaimer: These stories have not been independently verified. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of Aged Care Reform Now and are shared for information purposes only.

The closer it gets to the anniversary, the more I reflect upon the reasons why I felt the need to join others in the Reform process.

Dads decline was primarily brought about by the inappropriate use of medicines, never with malice but, nevertheless they were unnecessary and stupid errors that had a snow ball effect and impacted Dad’s quality of life.

I have seen these same mistakes made often and it always comes down to under qualified people.

A mistranslation of a medication chart saw Dad’s, Epilim increased instead of decreased. This dose was given twice daily for 9 days because the Assistant in Nursing (AIN) / Personal Care Attendant (PCA) giving dad his meds wasn’t qualified to translate the primary medication chart to the medicine administration chart they used when giving meds.

They crushed meds they shouldn’t have.

Dad became over sedated and a risk of choking because they were still attempting to feed him while he was half asleep. These were the sedation effect of Epilim.

Facility based Medication Competency isn’t good enough.

A non-registered staff member should have the minimum state Health Medication Administration requirement and they should have a registration once gaining competency. This is an important part of reform for me.

Dad’s medication chart wasn’t reviewed for 8 days by a Registered Nurse (RN) after the change was made.

The timing of the incident was dreadful. I was notified on Boxing Day the day after I questioned Dad’s level of sedation when we visited the day before. We, as a family know that there was no malicious intent.

Mistakes are made all the time. It’s how quickly they are picked up that is important. 

Edited for clarity


If this story caused sadness or distress, please reach out for help.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au
Headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au

Do you need to lodge a complaint? We have information on which government agency to contact, and how to explore legal support here: https://agedcarereformnow.com.au/resolving-complaints/where-to-make-an-aged-care-complaint/

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