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Improving the safety of medication administration

Dec 28, 2015 | Medication Errors

While medication is meant to help people with pain, injuries and illnesses, it is also causing adverse affects to patients in New York and around the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700,000 people around the country make medication-related emergency hospital visits each year. For these reasons, it is important that medical personnel are familiar with the federal regulations regarding the administration of medication, as outlined by the CDC.

Within these safety regulations are points of importance commonly known as the five rights of medication administration. While these points may seem simple, missing just one of them could result in a wide range of medication mistakes. In these points, the nurse or other medical practitioner confirms the patient’s identity, the type, amount and dosage of the medication, as well as the time the medication was given.

Regarding the patient’s identity, the nurse is required to confirm the patient’s name, date of birth or hospital identification number. The patient’s name should agree with the treatment administration record or the medication administration record and the prescription label. The nurse must then take care that the prescription is the exact one the patient is to receive. This is important because while many medications have similar-sounding names, they are entirely different from each other. Likewise, the nurse should confirm the correct dosage and the way the medication is administered to the patient, such as orally or intravenous. Lastly, the nurse must ensure the medication is given at the right time and intervals.

When people are in need of medical treatment, they trust their lives to hospitals, doctors and nurses. A patient who has been harmed by a prescription medication error might want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to determine the recourse that may be available for seeking compensation for the damages that have been sustained.

Source: Minority Nurse, "Why Med Safety Matters", Dexter Civkerie, Dec. 18, 2015