Patients should learn about all the medications they receive in the hospital, including the name of each medication, reason prescribed, dose, route, and frequency. This is particularly important when medications may be continued following discharge. Patients can become more knowledgeable about their medications and help provide another level of safety by maintaining their own medication administration record (MAR) at the bedside. Each time a medication is administered, staff should review it with the patient first so that it can be verified and the appropriate entry made to the nursing staff’s MAR.
- Reconcile the patient’s MAR with the MAR used by nursing several times per day. Even better is to maintain only one MAR that the patient and nurses fill out jointly and that is kept at the patient’s bedside.
- Encourage patients to ask questions and alert staff when medications are due.
- Train parents of pediatric patients in care of the patient by having them record medications administered to their child.
- Remember that older pediatric patients (not babies or toddlers) like to be included and have a role in their own care, so consider ways for them maintain their own MAR. Make it simple for younger children and perhaps fun, using stickers to note when medications are administered.
- Consider having patients administer their medications themselves.