Patients have an important role in the medication administration process. Patients who’ve asked questions about the medications they were about to receive have prevented many medication errors. Clinical personnel should always pay close to attention to the questions and concerns of patients. But they can go a step further by deliberately involving patients in the administration process.
Before administering any medication, clinicians should review the medication, its purpose, and the dose with the patient and ask him to verify that all are correct. The clinician should offer an opportunity for the patient to ask questions or raise concerns, and if anything is unclear the administration should be delayed until everything is resolved. This extra line of defense before the last step can be crucial in preventing adverse drug events.
- Explain the purpose of the medication review clearly so patients understand the limits of their responsibility: it’s an extra safety step, not a shifting of the burden onto the patient’s shoulders.
- Involve the parents when caring for pediatric patients, but remember to include the pediatric patients themselves if they are old enough participate too.
- Use this extra step as an opportunity to educate patients about the medications they will continue to take after discharge.