Saturday, November 10, 2007

How to Avoid Medication Errors

It is important to know the medications that your loved one is taking and why they are geing given. Of course, this also applies to medications that you take. Medication errors are the most common form of health care mistakes.

Ask about the purpose of the medication. Ask for written information about it, including its brand name and generic name. Also ask about any side effects.

If you don't recognize a medication, verify that it is being prescribed for your loved one (or you).

If you or your loved one is given an IV, ask the nurse how long it should take for the liquid to run out. Tell the nurse if it doesn't seem to be dripping properly (either too fast or too slow).

Whenever you or your loved one receives a new medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist about any allergies or negative reactions to medications in the past.

If taking multiple medications, ask the doctor or pharmacist if it is safe to take those medications together. This holds true for vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter drugs too.

Make sure you read the handwriting on any prescriptions written by the doctor, If you can't read it, the pharmacist may not be able to either.