Every patient has the right to receive competent care and correct medications. But why are medication errors still increasing and continuously affecting lives around the world? In a recent report by the National Coordination Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, approximately 1.3 million people are affected each year – the same number who have contacted pharmaceutical lawyers and filed for suit.
According to survey, these incidences usually happen in the hospital and are caused by several issues: sheer volume of patients, unfamiliar medications, indecipherable handwriting, and many more. Although a huge chunk of the responsibility goes to your medical health provider, it would not hurt to learn what factors to consider before taking the medicine – for your own sake.
Below are the five “rights” nurses consider upon drug administration. To help avoid medication errors, you must check on these and take action to make sure you are receiving the care you deserve.
*Before anything else, list down the medicine prescribed to you by your doctor. Include the proper dose, timing, and manner of taking it. If you can’t list them yourself, ask someone else to do it and keep the list close to you.
When the nurse arrives, he or she may ask for your name. If you can, say your full name loud and clear to avoid miscommunication. If the patient can’t speak, he should always have a “significant other” to speak up for him. In modern hospital settings, technology is also used to identify patients.
You may notice that before the nurse administers the drug, he or she mentions the drug name and enumerates what its effects are. This is where your list comes in handy. Ask your health provider to repeat the drug’s name and cross-reference it with your list. If it isn’t there, ask the nurse to verify the medication with your doctor.
It is also advisable to be knowledgeable on the effects of your prescribed drugs. With the use of the internet, you can easily gather this information.
There are times when more than one medication nurse comes to you at a certain time of the day. If he or she attempts to administer a medication you have just taken, speak up. Sometimes, communication among healthcare providers is also compromised.
Did the nurse give you the same dosage as the doctor ordered? Be keen on the dose you take. Check your list for consistency.
Some medications are to be taken orally, others are given via IV, and others even applied on the skin. There are some medications that can be confusing, though. They sometimes look like a tablet, but instead of swallowing them, they should be allowed to melt under the tongue for proper absorption. To avoid mistakes, listen to your health provider’s instructions.
Based on the doctor’s orders, take note of the time you’re supposed to take your medication. Some medications are given four, three or two times a day, others are given just once a day, or just when needed. Remember the time you took the last dose – your nurse might probably ask before handing over your next dose.
The advice mentioned above work well if you are in the hospital setting. If you stay at home, then a pill box with the proper labels would work best!
About the author: Melissa Page is a passionate blogger who writes for successful firms such as Staff Care, a medical staffing company. When she isn’t writing, she’s playing bowling with friends.