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Medication error, is a type of medical error where a the wrong drug is administered or other confusion (wrong patient, wrong dose, wrong time, wrong route) means that the correct drug was administered incorrectly.
- Similar drug names being confused
- Error caused by confusion in respect to two different preparations of the same drug
- Failure to document in a timely manner leading to medication being given twice to the same patient
- Medication inadvertently being given by the wrong route
- Confusion being caused by two patients of a similar name
- Prescriptions being misread due to poor handwriting
- Inappropriate storage/stockpiling of out of date medications
A number of steps can be taken to reduce these errors these include
- Reduce distractions at times when medication is being given.
- Check patient identification information thoroughly.
- Ensure that all medication charts are written clearly in accordance with explicit policy and Professional guidance.
- Ensure that drug storage areas are kept clean, neat and tidy.
- Ensure that unwanted or unnecessary medications are returned to pharmacy for destruction.
- Ensure that all patients receive appropriate advice and information about the medications that they take on a regular basis, and that such discussions are fully documented.
- Report all future drug errors, including near-miss events, to ensure on-going learning within the organisation.