Your Role In Medication Safety

We are very careful about making sure that you get the correct medicines intended for you. You can help make this process even safer by following the tips listed below:

  • Be sure that your nurse identifies you by asking your name and date of birth before giving you the medicine. For patients who are unable to speak, the nurse will check the patient's armband for this information.

  • Ask your nurse the name of the medicine and what it is for. Your nurse will tell you this information before giving you the medicine, but if he or she does not, ASK.

  • Ask to see the container of your medicine, if you wish.

  • Ask if there are any side effects, such as trouble breathing, rash, or swelling that you should report to your doctor and/or nurse.

  • There also are important questions for you to ask when you are being discharged, including:
  • Ask about the name, dose, and how often you should be taking any medications, especially new ones. Ask if there are special instructions for taking them, for example, if you should take them with food.  Ask if a new medicine may react with medicines you will be taking at home, even over-the-counter or herbal medicines.

  • Ask if there are any changes in the way you are to take medications you took before coming into the hospital.  Sometimes, the dose or instructions will be changed.

  • Ask about medicines you were taking that you do not see on your discharge medication list. Example: “I take Percocet for my back pain at home, should I continue to take that? It is not on the list.” or “I take Centrum at home, can I continue to take this vitamin?”

  • Ask what would happen if you do not take the medicine your doctor ordered, and what to do it you miss a dose by accident.

This page was last updated: June 4, 2013

         
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