2% of Flemish residential care residents suffer 'medication incidents'

Just under 2% of all residential care home residents in Flanders had a recorded "medication incident" in 2021, meaning they either took the wrong dose, took the medication at the wrong time, were administered incorrectly, or even received the wrong medication.

The findings were revealed in a quality report by Flemish care agencies and are based on a count of 74,676 residents in 782 of the 809 recognised residential care centres in the Belgian region.

This year's figures represent a rise since November 2021, when 1.7% of residents recorded a medication incident. Following the news about insulin overdoses in residential care centres in Oostrozebeke and Hasselt in September, the medication policy in the nursing homes and its monitoring by the Flemish government is under a magnifying glass.

During a radio interview last month, independent auditor Peter Adam said that oversight is grossly inadequate.

"Residential care centres have to forward these incidents to the Flemish government. But the government does not check whether those indicators actually reflect quality," Adam stated.

The Flemish Institute for Quality of Care (VIKZ) director Svin Deneckere acknowledged the need "to work on quality of care, which can be done by improving the detection of medicine incidents."

The report also includes other striking figures. 1.6 per cent of 73,957 residents present on June 1 of last year had bedsores that originated in the residential care home, for instance. Between May and June 2021, 4.1 per cent of 58,551 residents had unintentional weight loss (of 5 or more per cent of their body weight) in a month.




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