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How Can Forgetting Coumadin Hurt Your Resident?

By brian barrick
October 23, 2013

Care of patients at home or in a facility is particularly important if the patient is on a medicine like Coumadin. This blood thinner is given to people with stroke disorders, cardiac problems and blood clotting disorders and patients are usually on a regular dose of the medicine at specific times. When an agency is in charge of a patient it is crucial that the care giver is responsible and risk of not administering medicines is minimized or obviated. Since Coumadin is a serious medicine it is all the more important that the care givers in your facility administer it regularly to the patients.

Forgetting a Coumadin dose

When patients are on a regimen of medicines, it is vital that the medicines are given at a fixed time every day. However, if a patient is in an assisting living facility, on occasion when the time comes to take the medicine, the patient may be asleep or not present. It then falls on the care giver to make sure that the medicine is administered as soon as possible.

If your resident forgets to take drug or is not given the drug on time, it is important to take the medicine as soon as possible on the same day that the dose was forgotten. However, if it is closer to the time for the next dose, then the dose should be skipped – a double dose should almost never be taken – and if the patient is in a critical situation, he should be monitored.

What Coumadin does

Coumadin is necessary to keep the blood thin enough and flowing; in some cases even a single missed dose of this medicine increases the risk of developing a blood clot. More missed doses or a reduced dosage over a longer time can significantly impact the life of the patient as it can result in a blood clot that can be dangerous and even fatal. Clots can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke. A stroke can impact a patient significantly, leaving him or her paralyzed or even affect mental and cognitive functions; an embolism can even lead to death; a heart attack, depending on its severity can also, impact life.

A missed dose of Coumadin can therefore open your agency to charges of negligence or law suits if an adverse event occurs.

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