Medication errors can be caused by many factors, such as illegible handwriting in prescriptions, the design of medication labels, and dose miscalculations. The process of administering medications involves many steps and different members of the health care team. In a care home, caregiving staff play an essential role in preparing and administering medications, they need to be vigilant in preventing errors. Over here we discuss a list of FAQs on medication administration and medication errors and their answers:
Question 1: What are some important steps to follow before medication administration to reduce medication errors?
Answer: Before preparing the medications, here are some important steps that a caregiver must follow:
- Always perform hand hygiene
- Always obtain the exact name and spelling for each medication you administer
- Many medications come in several forms, such as tablets, capsules, elixir and aqueous solution. When administering a medication, be certain to use the proper form
- Prepare medications in a clean and uncluttered area
- Inform your supervisor that you will be administering medicines – this is to ensure that you are not interrupted
- Prepare medications for one patient at one time
- Compare the name of medication label with MAR or electronic MAR
- Double check drug dose
- Check expiration date on all medications and return outdated medication to pharmacy
- Do not interpret illegible handwriting. When in doubt, clarify with the health care provider
- Question unusually large or small doses
- Before administering medication, use at least two resident identifiers (e.g., resident name, birthday or medical record number)
- For certain medications, perform necessary preadministration assessment
- Allow the resident to ask questions related to the medications
Question 2: What should be done after medication administration?
Answer: You must immediately record all the important information pertaining to medication administration, including the resident’s name, drug administered, dose, route and date and time administered on MAR chart or electronic MAR. Also, add your initials or signature. If the resident develops any adverse reactions, you must record the allergic reaction and inform the resident’s health care provider.
Question 3: What should be done when medication error is discovered?
Answer: When you discover an error, report it as per the care home’s policy. Once the error is reported, reflect on the context or situation that may have caused the error. Also, discuss with your supervisor and reflect on how the error could have been prevented.
Question 4: What should be done when a resident refuses medication?
Answer: You can take a different approach to convince the resident. However, you must not force the residents to take the medication. Also, ask the resident the reasons behind the refusal. You must record the refusal and the reasons. Also, the health care provider must be notified that the resident is refusing to take the prescribed medications.
Question 5: What should a medication order include?
Answer: Before administering medication, you must thoroughly check the medication order. It should include:
- Resident’s full name
- Date and time when the order was written
- Medication name
- Administration route
- Time of medication administration
- Frequency of medication administration
- Signature of health care provider
Question 6: How can an eMAR chart prevent medication errors?
Answer: With eMAR, you can rest assured that the correct medicine with the correct dose is administered through the correct route to the correct resident at the correct time. Also, all the important data is always securely backed-up, Your supervisors can overview the activities related to medication administration in real time.