Medication safety means you get the right medicine, the right dose, at the right times. During your hospital stay, your health care team needs to follow many steps to make sure this happens. You can also help ensure that you get the right medicines the right way.
All hospitals have a process to make sure you get the right medicines. A mistake could cause a problem for you. This is the order of the steps in the process:
The pharmacy may receive some prescriptions by computer (electronic) and some handwritten ones. Electronic ones are easier to read than handwritten ones. This means there is less chance of a medicine error from electronic prescriptions.
Your doctor can tell your nurse to write down a prescription for medicine for you. Then your nurse can send the prescription to the pharmacy. This is called a “verbal order.” Your nurse should repeat the prescription back to your doctor to make sure it is right before sending it to the pharmacy.
Your doctor, nurse, and pharmacist will check to make sure any new medicines you receive will not cause a bad reaction with other medicines you are already taking.
The 5 rights of medicine are a checklist nurses use to make sure you get the right medicine. The 5 rights are the:
You can help make sure you get the right medicine the right way during your hospital stay by doing these things:
Five-rights; Medication administration; Medical errors - medication
Bates DW. Medication safety in the hospital In: Wachter RM, Goldman L, Hollander H., eds. Hospital Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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