Medication Safety

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the healthcare community and consumers about medication safety. In their September issue they included ten medication safety tips for hospitalized patients. Their number one suggestion was to keep an up-to-date medication list and know your medications. I might be a little biased about this, but I too agree that this is the most important thing a patient can do.

The Following Examples Have Been Inspired by Real-life Events:

Picture yourself sick beyond the ability to speak, alone in a hospital room surrounded by a team of medical staff asking you what feels like a million questions and all you can muster up is “just make me feel better.” 

Example 1

You find out your grandmother was admitted to the hospital and you go visit her. During your visit the nurse comes into the room to administer medication to your grandmother. As the nurse begins calling out the medication names you notice that your grandmother was no longer taking that medication or the strength was wrong or the frequency was wrong. It turns out that either the medication list your grandmother had with her was outdated or worse she had no list at all. 

Example 2

Heres What You Can Do

This happens very frequently and more often than most people think, especially in elderly patients. It’s hard to remember dates and names on a regular day. This is why having a up-to-date patient information sheet is important. I suggest you fill out the following sheet for all your family members and ensure they always have an updated copy with them. The sheet can be printed ahead of time, prior to hospital arrival or can be emailed to a hospital employee and printed. 

This is an example of a patient information sheet: 

Download yours here:

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