How To Help Prevent Medication Errors
There are literally millions of types of medication used throughout the United States and the rest of the world, and the last thing a doctor or nurse wants to do is prescribe a medication which will mix hazardously with something you’re already taking, or prescribe a medication which will not promptly improve your condition.
While doctors and nurses are skilled professionals who are extremely familiar with many types of medication, no one knows your body better than you do.
That is why it is extremely important for all patients to carry an up-to-date medication card at all times—especially when going for a doctors’ visit or a trip to the emergency room.
One of the most common medical mistakes is a medical error in which a patient takes too many, not enough, or the incorrect type of medication. This is extremely dangerous because certain medications do not mix well together or can cancel each other out, which is also dangerous to a patient who needs a specific type of medication in their system.
And although The Joint Commission—which is similar to the overseer of many hospital and healthcare systems—strives for extreme caution with patients and their medication, the truth is that doesn’t always happen.
Nurses and doctors take care of hundreds of patients each week, and memorizing all of their patients’ information just isn’t feasible. And while it’s true that healthcare providers also have charts (electronic or paper) of patients’ medical histories, this information may not always be as up-to-date as they would prefer.
But we can change this. Here’s how to help prevent medication errors:
Many hospitals and doctors offices have implemented a pocket-sized note card system for patients to record their medication data to begin rectifying the problem of medication-associated errors. At Jersey Shore Hospital, we call them Pocket Pals.
This way, when a patient sees a doctor or a nurse, he or she has available what types of medication has been previously prescribed to them, what the dosage is, why the drug was prescribed and other pertinent information.
If a doctor or nurse has this information readily available at their fingertips, medical mistakes are far less likely to occur.
These handy cards can be picked up at many of your local doctors’ offices or local hospitals and take only a few moments to fill out.
Some of the information that is recorded on the note cards includes the following:
• Name of the medication
• Time in which you take the medication
• Reason for taking the medication
Help to stop medication errors in your family by making sure that each person has a medication card… from age 3 to 93. Other important information such as allergies to certain drugs is also essential to record.