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Over 50% of elderly patients in nursing homes have been exposed to at least one potentially damaging medication. It shows how much the industry needs knowledgeable professionals. The Healthcare industry is very sophisticated. Even a single mistake or slip can be a cause for someone’s death. 

To prevent these misfortunes, knowing the possible causes is a must. There are primarily four categories of pharmaceutical mishaps.

Knowledge-based mistakes (due to ignorance), for as administering penicillin before knowing whether the patient is allergic. An Australian study found that knowledge-based prescription errors were a result of poor senior staff communication and acquiring the right drug dosage information. By having thorough knowledge about the medication of the prescription and the patient to whom it is being administered, these mistakes ought to be preventable. Such errors can be prevented with the aid of computerised prescribing systems, bar-coded drug systems, and cross-checking by others (such as pharmacists and nurses). A good education is crucial to prevent this type of error.

Errors based on rules (using a bad rule or a good rule incorrectly), such instance injecting diclofenac into the buttock as opposed to the lateral thigh. These kinds of errors can be prevented with the use of appropriate guidelines, education, and computerised prescribing systems.

Action-based mistakes, (often known as slips), include things like picking up a bottle of diazepam off the drugstore shelf when you meant to take a bottle of diltiazem. Distractions brought about the majority of mistakes in the aforementioned Australian study during normal prescription, medicine dispensing, or administration. These can be reduced by establishing circumstances in which they are unlikely to occur. For instance, by avoiding distractions, cross-checking, clearly labelling medications, and using identifiers, such as bar codes. So-called “Tall Man” lettering, which combines upper and lower-case letters in the same word, has been proposed to prevent label misreading. But this approach has not been tested in practical settings. 

Technical errors are a subset of action-based errors; an example would be adding the incorrect amount of potassium chloride to an infusion bottle. This kind of error can be avoided by using checklists, fail-safe mechanisms, and electronic reminders.

Gaps in memory, such as administering penicillin while being aware that the patient is allergic. These are challenging to avoid; nevertheless, they can be stopped by cross-checking and computerised prescribing systems.

Strategies to Prevent Medication Error:

Every single medication error risk multiple lives. Even if these errors are unintentional, we should minimize these incidents as much as possible and solve the issues for any similar cases in the future.

We can employ a variety of techniques to reduce this avoidable error. At the organisational level, it is up to management to foster a culture of safety and a reliable procedure for reporting errors.

A “no-blame” corporate culture is crucial. If a decision or punishment is made that is overly severe in cases of unintentional medication errors, healthcare personnel may decide not to report the errors in the future. As a result, there will be a near complete lack of error reporting and a decline in error reporting in the healthcare sector, which will make it more difficult to implement preventative policies and procedures when necessary.

If you are a healthcare worker and you are in a position where a pharmaceutical error or near-miss has occurred, it is crucial to admit the error. Inform your reporting supervisor of the near-miss and error so that they can take the necessary steps to guarantee patient safety.

Gain the skills to handle medicines efficiently and assist patients to put their minds at ease. HLTHPS006 – Assist clients with medication of Oscar Academy is here to assist you. Our course will equip you with all the necessary assistance you need. Give us a call to know more.


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