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How to avoid medication errors

Ohio nurses can reduce their chances of making a medication error by following certain guidelines. One of those guidelines is the five rights. This means making sure that right patient is getting the right medicine in the right dosage at the right time using the right method of administration.

In order to do this, nurses should double or triple check one another's procedures. Having nurses and doctors read orders back to one another can also help to ensure accuracy. Reconciliation should be done whenever a patient is transferred from another unit or facility. Staff may confuse patients who have the same name with one another, so a name alert may prevent this. Using a 0 in front of decimal points avoids confusion between amounts like 25 mg and .25 mg.

It is good practice to document everything. Documenting dosage ensures that another nurse will not give the patient the dosage a second time. Nurses should check labels and expiration dates. Storing medicine correctly is also critical. Nurses should be familiar with the policies and regulations around medication at their facility. They should also keep a drug guide to hand to check interactions, side effects and other potential issues with medication.

Medication errors can lead to serious consequences. A patient who has received an incorrect dosage or the wrong medication or who has missed a dose may experience a delay in recovery or an allergic reaction. The wrong medication can even result in death. A patient or the family of a patient who feel that this mistake is the result of medical malpractice may want to discuss the case with an attorney. It may be necessary to determine at what point the error occurred and the degree of responsibility borne by various medical professionals. In such a lawsuit, the medical facility and professionals may suggest settling out of court.

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