Palliative care offers comfort and support for people living with severe illnesses or those who are at the end stage of life. The aim is to make sure that the person continues to receive care with dignity. Palliative care is also called ‘supportive care’ as such care homes work in partnership with medical staff and other facilities to help improve the quality of life for the residents. An integral part of helping the residents live as actively as possible until the end is to ensure that the right level of care is provided to them without medication errors.
Here are useful insights that can help reduce medication errors in palliative care homes:
- Follow the five rights: Medication errors can have serious and costly consequences. They can lead to additional medical intervention, serious side effects and in worst cases can even lead to death. Following the five rights — right drug, right patient, right dose, right time, right route — can help reduce the medication errors. To follow the five rights, the caregivers should have easy access to all the information at one place. With the electronic medication administration record system, caregivers can have all the information at the tap of their fingers.
- Pharmacological training for caregivers: Lack of pharmacological knowledge is one of leading causes of medication errors by caregivers. Not knowing drugs’ generic and brand names, doses and properties of drugs can be confusing, especially when the drugs either look alike or have similar-sounding names. This can be addressed by organising regular training.
- Get the complex drug calculation right: Drug calculations can be complex. Care home managers can fix this issue by regular training of caregivers so that they know how to calculate drug dosages accurately and avoid drug errors.
- Increased workload: Increased workloads may predispose caregivers to take shortcuts and fail to follow the right drug administration procedures, such as verifying patient identification or administering medicines at the right time. The quality of care in any care home depends on many factors and one of the key factors is the competency and professionalism of the care workers. If you are a care home manager, you must recognise the signs and symptoms of caregiver stress and burnout and help and educate your staff. Talk to your caregiving staff and help them with stress management techniques.
To ease the burden of medication management for caregivers, many care homes in the UK are using eMAR, an electronic MAR sheet medication administration system. The software can streamline medication administration and offers a host of benefits. The medication administration software sends alerts to caregivers when medicines are due, ensuring that no dosage is missed or delayed. With the help of the software, monthly audit reports can be prepared without any paperwork. To learn more benefits of eMAR, check the product tour.