5 Tips For Safe Medication Administration

drug breakfast
Breakfast Of Champions - Photo by: albertstraub - Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Providing medication to patients isn’t an easy task, especially if you’re working in a busy healthcare center or hospital. It’s not uncommon for medical workers to mix up medications or commit errors when giving a patient their medicine. There may also be instances when they’re too busy to observe the proper steps in administering a drug. When these mistakes happen, it could compromise a patient’s condition.

To avoid mistakes when giving medication to patients, here are five tips you could follow to establish a safer medication administration process.    

Practice Proper Hygiene  

There are many ways to administer medication. Some can be given orally, while others need to be issued directly to the bloodstream. Tablets or syrup medicines may be easy for patients to take since they’re simply swallowed with a glass of water. On the other hand, intravenous (IV) medications could be a little tricky to handle, and there are additional precautions that need to be taken when administering them.  

The most important practice that could be borne in mind when administering drugs is observing proper hygiene. For example, if you need to prepare a patient’s medicine in a separate room before administering it, it’s safest to ensure that the environment is clean and orderly. You don’t want to contaminate the drug with foreign substances like dust. This may cause harm to the patient’s health. Some drugs may also be considered unfit for consumption once they’re tainted with other substances. So it’s crucial to always ensure you’re handling them correctly.   

Practicing proper disinfection protocols before handling any medication is also good practice. Washing your hands and wearing sterile gloves when administering any type of medicine are basic guidelines to be remembered when you’re on the job. It’s safest to disinfect your hands and medical tools whenever you attend to a new patient. This way you could avoid cross-contamination when administering a drug.  

It would also help if you understand the different methods of administering a drug since giving an oral dose and an IV medication vary. You may continue reading this material to help you remember the correct steps in handling different medication packaging.   

Check Your Patient   

Before administering any new medicine to your patient, it’s best to first check if they have any allergies or health complications. The treatment you’d provide could trigger allergic reactions in the patient. It may also react negatively to other medicines already taken by the person you’re attending to. 

Drugs and studies

You could check your patient’s medical history to see if you need to consider anything when prescribing drugs. For instance, a person who’s allergic to some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or mefenamic acid could experience asthma, hives, or anaphylaxis upon ingesting the medicine. If you want to ensure the safety of your patient, it’s important to continuously monitor their condition after giving them a new drug, then look out for any unusual reactions.    

Don’t Rely On Memory  

Once you’ve become accustomed to how you’re supposed to issue different drugs, you may feel too complacent about knowing the proper process to do it. You may think you won’t need to recheck the steps since you’ve already done it many times. However, solely relying on your memory may cause you to slip up, especially when you’re too fatigued or out of focus.  

If you’re attending to multiple patients and administering different drugs through varying methods, it would be best to keep a detailed list of how each medication must be prepared and given. After all, you don’t want to make mistakes because you’re too busy or feeling a bit tired. Keeping a written reminder on how to give various medicines properly and revisiting it whenever you’re unsure of the correct process would help prevent errors while you’re on the job.  

Read The Label 

Working in a healthcare facility or hospital will usually require you to look after multiple patients. This means you may need to keep tabs on different medications for several people. If you’re in charge of administering their doses, it’s vital to read the label first each time you give a dose.  

Some medications provided to you may be past the expiration date. It would be best to confirm that what you’re giving is still viable by rechecking the date on the packaging. Some medicines may also be switched when you’re getting them from the pharmacy due to name similarities. Reading the label and instructions of each drug you’re giving will help prevent any mix-ups or incorrect administration, especially when you’re in charge of more than one patient. 

Update The Patient’s Records 

When you’re in charge of administering medications to a patient, remember to always update their records. It’s normal for any healthcare facility or hospital to keep a detailed file on a patient’s condition and treatment since it could provide helpful information if the patient needs medical attention in the future.  

If you’re giving a new medicine to a patient, you could note that down on their records. This could also be done if the patient experiences bad reactions to a medication. This would ensure that the next person who’d attend to the patient would know their condition and medication status.  

Final Thoughts    

When handling medications, it’s best to observe proper guidelines to avoid any error or drug mix-ups. Taking simple steps such as practicing proper hygiene and rechecking the label before administering medicine could significantly help preserve a patient’s health and safety.