Health

Saturday 20 September 2014

Minimising drugs errors

PATIENTS moving between different healthcare settings – such as going from hospital to the care of a nursing home or GP practice – are at increased risk of becoming the victim of a drugs error, a health watchdog has warned.

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published a new drug safety guide to avoid mistakes that lead to significant harm or even death.

Marie Kehoe-O'Sullivan, director of safety and quality improvement at HIQA, said when patients move, they are at risk because some medications may be discontinued, new ones introduced or dosages changed.

"So it is imperative that any such changes are recorded and communicated to the patient's next healthcare professional."

The watchdog has published 'Principles of Good Practice in Medication Reconciliation' to offer guidance to healthcare professionals aimed at reducing medication errors.

Checklists are recognised as a useful tool to ensure that all the steps in the process are followed and this guidance includes four examples that have been developed and tested in hospitals and nursing homes in Ireland.

The guidance is available to download from www.hiqa.ie.

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