Recently, you may have begun thinking about advance directives because someone close to you was hospitalized suddenly. Perhaps your brother-in-law was admitted following a stroke. He was unable to speak and was completely dependent on the medical staff to make decisions about his care. His wife, your sister, was concerned about a particular kind of therapy that was prescribed for Jim and wished he could tell the doctors whether he wanted it.
If your loved one is in a nursing home, the staff has the responsibility of dispensing the medications that doctors prescribe for the patient. However, mistakes happen, and they can include a dosage error, an incorrect method of administering the medication or giving the patient the wrong medication altogether. Errors of this kind have become pervasive, but family members can help protect the nursing home resident from medication mistakes that could be extremely harmful.