Prevent – Medication Mix-ups

The # 1 thing you can do to help prevent medication errors is to have a complete detailed record of everything your loved one takes for any condition — and then keep it up to date with all medications prescribed in the hospital.

By “medication” we mean just about anything taken by mouth (except food), or delivered through a patch, needle or tube. This list includes some things that may surprise you: Nicotine patches, cold or allergy remedies, vitamins, herbal supplements, diet aids — even aspirin. It’s important for doctors to know the type and quantity of alcohol consumed on a daily basis, too.

Medication errors can occur when patients don’t disclose all the prescriptions they take for fear of revealing an abuse problem — or if they fail to reveal the use of illegal recreational drugs.

Helping your loved one pull together a complete record may cause friction … may be uncomfortable … may feel like a violation of privacy. But think about it, the human body is all about chemistry. Prescriptions are too. You really don’t want your loved one’s care reduced to an experiment, because without the right data, it’s just trial and error.

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