Preventing Medication Errors Through Patient Involvement
Many Ohio residents take prescription medications for chronic medical conditions or for pain management after a serious injury or surgery. Medication is not something that should be taken lightly. An overdose can cause serious side effects and even death. In fact, it is estimated that at least one person dies daily from medication errors.
It is up to doctors to create accurate lists of all the medications their patients are taking. However, this can be a daunting task considering that many patients are not fully aware of what medications they are taking, the proper dosage and even how often they should be taking them. Plus, the average American fills 12 prescriptions annually, amounting to four billion a year.
That’s where patient involvement comes in. Every patient should be knowledgeable of what medications he or she is taking. This is so doctors can prevent adverse events caused by combining medications.
When patients are discharged from a hospital, they should receive written instructions about their medications and be sure that they understand them before going home. They should then create a master list that contains all of their current medications, as well as dosage and time taken. This list should include not only prescription medications, but herbs, vitamins, patches, eye drops, ointments and creams.
With improper medication usage causing 1.5 million adverse events per year, it’s important for patients to stay educated. Even with electronic records in place, doctors can only do so much to keep patients safe. They can’t monitor what a patient does in his or her home, so awareness is important in order to prevent a dangerous combination of prescriptions.