medication spilling out of bottle
Written by Jenny Misar, Consultant, Professional Practice

Engaging patients during the medication administration process improves patient safety.

What is Medication Management?

Medication management is an area of focus for Fraser Health’s Accreditation survey this month. The main goal of medication management is to enhance patient safety by promoting a collaborative approach to prevent and reduce patient safety events throughout all steps in the medication management process. The Accreditation Standards for Medication Management have guided Fraser Health to implement many improvements, at all levels. The practice that requires everyone’s support, however, is to ensure patients and families are aware of their role in the medication process. 

What supports are available?

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that patients and families are part of the health care team and this includes ensuring they learn about their role in enhancing patient safety. The You and Your Medications Booklet helps to inform patients and families about their contributions to Medication Safety. My Medication Card is another tool that suggests questions to ask health care providers and a place for patients and families to document information about their medications. Both these tools are available on the patient education catalogue.

Another way patients and families are engaged in the medication process is when health care providers educate them when a new medication is started, dose is changed, or medication is discontinued. These discussions often prevent medication errors as they can reveal that the wrong medication has been ordered or that there is drug allergy. In fact, patients have validated this approach during patient interviews by saying that it made them feel included, respected, and safe. Finally, checking for understanding is key to see if further education is required. A simple way to do this is to ask them, in a caring way, to explain in their own words what they need to know or do. Alternatively, asking patients to fill-in My Medication Card can also be used to check for understanding. 

Patient safety will improve when everyone works together and is aware of the techniques and tools to engage patients and families in the medication process. 

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