Medication errors in healthcare settings

While abbreviations can be time saving and convenient their use does not always ensure patient safety.

medication errors post by femidist

Medication errors in healthcare settings

Did you know that medication errors are one of the most commonly reported clinical incidents in acute health care settings?

Making a medication error while caring for a patent can be a frightening experience both for the patient and the healthcare professional.

I am posting this short article as I am passionate about keeping patients safe, both in and out of healthcare settings.

Abbreviations in healthcare are common.

One of the main causes of medication errors in healthcare services today is the use of abbreviations.

Sometimes we healthcare professionals seem to talk a whole different language. As well as a whole lot of medical jargon, abbreviations in healthcare are also common.

Here is a simple example of some verbal jargon….The patient in 6a with SOB needs IV Ab’s QID. Translated this means  The patient in room 6, in bed “a” needs intravenous antibiotics four times a day.

Abbreviations in medication orders

An abbreviation, term or symbol may mean something quite different from the doctor writing the medication order to the person, usually a nurse, administering the medication.

While abbreviations can be time saving and convenient the their use does not always ensure patient safety.

Current recommendations

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare has updated guidelines to help reduce mistakes.  The recommendations are here in full and there is a really nice summary sheet on the commissions website also.

Reference

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2016), Recommendations for terminology, abbreviations and symbols used in medicines documentation. ACSQHC, Sydney.

 


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