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How To Safely Give Oral Medications & Stop The Errors

How To Safely Give Oral Medications & Stop The Errors

The Impact of Errors With Medications

Safety with medications is one of the key priority areas in Australia.  And for good reason.  Harm from error can have a mild impact or devastating consequence to the patient.

Of all the therapies that are provided to patients throughout this country and internationally, therapy with medications is the most common.  It is suggested that seven out of ten Australians will have taken at least one medication in any two week period.  That’s a lot of Australians and a lot of medications administered.  So, it follows that it is statistically the most likely to have the most errors.

Errors relating to medications often come down to not following the basics.  The Australian Commission on Safety & Quality Health Care quote some disconcerting statistics on the matter.  2-3% of admissions to hospital are related to medications.  That constitutes 190,000 hospital admissions per year!  50% of these are entirely preventable.

Consider the scenario where the person that you are caring for has had a sudden deterioration in their health.  A number of their body systems are affected and, like a domino effect, that in turn impacts yet another bodily function.  Increasing medications or introducing new medications is probably going to be one of the most likely treatment options implemented, if these statistics are anything to go by.  So now you’re struggling with the medications that stay the same, the medications that have been increased or perhaps decreased and new medications that are introduced.  Perhaps the times or frequencies have changed from what they were last week.

It isn’t surprising when you think through this scenario that errors due to medications happen.  It is just so easy.

In our How-To Video below, Phill goes through the important techniques, tips and tricks to ensure that your patient receives oral medications safely


Australian Commission on Safety & Quality Health Care
Have you had a medication error or a near-miss with the person you’re caring for? Share that story here so that others can learn how easy it can be to make a simple, but disconcerting error


Nic Nash-Arnold has been nursing for twenty years. She has nursed thousands of patients, mainly in the operating theatre. Nicole has worked in both public and private hospitals in Queensland. Ten years ago, she left the “coal face” of nursing and moved into a Nurse Educator role and then a series of senior and executive hospital administration roles. Nic has always believed in the empowerment with education. That might be empowering nurses to provide better care or patients to take better care, but education is always the centre of the solution. Google 

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