Reducing medication errors

Did you know that medication error is one on the top leading causes of hospital admissions? It is so easy to forget your medicine or remember what goes with what, when or how – it can be complicated! Feros Care’s Health & Wellness Manager, Kate Swanton, shares her top five tips to help make taking your medications at home easier.

Take medications correctly
It almost goes without saying that you should take your medications exactly as prescribed by your own doctor – this means the correct dose, at the correct time and in the correct manner e.g. on a full or empty stomach or in the morning or evening etc. Read the medicine packaging each time, so you are not just relying on your memory.

An easy way to make sure you are getting all of your medication in the right dose is to have them prepared in blister packs (by the pharmacist) or by preparing them yourself for the week in advance.

It’s also important you understand why you are taking the medications and are aware of any possible side effects.

Set reminders
The trickiest part about medication – especially short course prescriptions such as antibiotics – is remembering to take it. You can set an alarm or reminder on your clock, watch or mobile phone. However, another great tool to have at home is Feros Care’s LifeLink Medication Reminder. As the name suggests, up to six reminders can be set into the base alarm which sits in your living area or kitchen. At a pre-determined time, a voice reminder will let you know that it’s time to take your medication.

Talk about their effectiveness
Just because you’ve been prescribed a medication doesn’t mean that you have to take it and wait and see what happens.

If you think a medication is making you feel unwell or simply isn’t working, it’s important that you speak to your doctor, carer or aged care provider. The sooner you do, the sooner you can find a solution which works best for your body.

Don’t experiment
Make sure you take medication and supplements, which have been prescribed or recommended, just for you. Don’t take your friend’s or expired medications, as you never know how they’ll react with your body or other medication you are taking.

This also applies to vitamins, herbs and supplements bought over the counter. Some of them can spoil the effectiveness of your other medication.

Record what you take
It’s a good idea that you write down what medication you are taking, why and how much. That way if a family member or carer needs to help you with your medication, a reference is easily available.

To make ordering your medication easier, the Federal Government has established the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). If you choose to register, all of your prescribed medication will be automatically listed on your PCEHR and can be accessed by health care professionals.