Enhancing Quality and Safety
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In the health care system, errors related to medication lead to high cases of morbidity and death. There is a rise in dependence on medication treatment for many patients as the central intercession for most ailments, which exposes patients to both damage and benefits. Benefits come from proper management of the disease through its slow progression and improved outcomes, while damage occurs due to unintentional consequences or medication malpractice. Medication errors could be through incorrect medication, at the wrong timing, or dosage. Adequate nursing education regarding quality and safety when handling patients is crucial to reduce or avoid medication errors. Changes such as reducing workloads, ensuring sufficient staffing of nurses, sound administration system, ensuring proper labeling of medication, and administration of correct medicines at the appropriate stretch should be adhered to in all health care systems (Hughes and Blegen, 2008). The purpose of this essay is to examine and analyze the issue of medication error while exploring its possible evidence-based and best practice resolutions. The paper also looks into the role played by nurses as primary administrators of medication and other stakeholders while addressing the issue.
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Factors Leading to Medication Errors
Medication mistakes are preventable occurrences in the health care profession which may cause harm to the patient through improper administration of medication. The circumstances originate from either expert practice, application of health care procedures, products, drug packaging, labeling, and prescription. It may also be due to compounding, distributing, education, nursing, and use (Hammoudi et al., 2018). The factors facilitating the issue include medication confusion due to their similar packaging and naming, leading to mistakes connected to verbal description. Lack of commonality in the use of medication or joint leads to allergic reactions and those requiring testing before usage to maintain their therapeutic standards.
Researchers reveal that the issue may not always lead to adverse consequences, and it is prone to all healthcare system settings (Hammoudi et al., 2018). However, those administered in critical units such as intensive care, emergency, intervention, and diagnostic have a higher chance of causing adverse drug events. Researchers discovered that most deaths connected to medication errors involve the central nervous system and its agents. An example of wrong doses of medications may lead to about 40% of deaths, while incorrect dosage 16% and 9% due to faulty channel of administration (Hughes and Blegen, 2008). They result from mishaps, confusion of names due to similarities, incorrect container branding, incompetency, etc.
Evidence-based and Solutions for Improving Medication Errors
Several evidence-based efforts from The Joint Commission and FDA have helped reduce the chances of medication errors. The Joint Commission produced a list of drugs with similar names health care providers consider problematic. The FDA invented the Black Box system in 1995, which issues warnings to patients on medications with increased risks such as antidepressants. Another effort done by the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices lists all high-alert drugs proven to cause adverse consequences such as insulin, narcotics, etc. (Hughes and Blegen, 2008). More strategies geared towards preventing medication errors include the standardization of communication within the health care system, educating patients, especially during modification of medications, to understand signs and symptoms and expected outcomes. Healthcare management should optimize nurses’ workflow, creating double-checks for drugs while paying extra attention to high-risk ones. Another intelligent way of reducing these errors is through high technology solutions such as bar code scanning for confirming correct medication for patients. When administrating drugs through IVs, smart infusion help verify the right dosage of medicines. As The Joint Commission interprets it, medical errors are any events likely to carry significant adverse outcomes on patients. Its cost is estimated to be twenty billion dollars annually (Rodziewicz et al., 2021). About a hundred thousand patients die from the issue each year.
Ways Which Nurses Can Coordinate Care to Decrease Medical Error and its Cost
Nurses are the principal administrators of medication in the healthcare system, and they play a massive part in the medication errors issue. According to Hughes (2011), nurses should employ specific strategies to cub avoidable errors. Approaches like effective communication, teamwork, normalizing the safety culture, incorporating evidence-based practice with the expected outcome of controlling ambiguity, and ensuring patient-centered care.
Nurses should adopt a culture of working as a team with improved communication skills for patients’ safety. The Joint Commission reports that above 60% of medical errors are associated with failures in communication (Hughes, 2011). Healthcare organizations should embrace a safety culture based on their mission and objectives. Nurses should find the need to prioritize safety when handling patients. Adopting evidence-based practices in connection to expected outcomes is another way nurses can apply to decrease medical errors. Before making any decisions, nurses should look at the evidence available to reduce the chances of medical errors and save unnecessary costs (Hughes, 2011). Nurses should also ensure patient-oriented care, which is proven by the IOM to effectively promote positive health outcomes and decrease disparities and the cost of healthcare and quality.
Role of Other Stakeholders in Decreasing Medical Error and its Cost
Other stakeholders who play a role in medication error are the physicians, qualified medication administrators, patients, and those family members who assist in administrating medication for their sick relatives. Physicians’ role to patients is crucial, especially when coordinating and handling illnesses such as chronic diseases. The role played by physicians in the medical error issue could be cubed if they begin viewing themselves as part of the hospital instead of viewing hospitals as working grounds (Hughes, 2011). Qualified medication administrators have a crucial role in administering oral and topical medicines to patients. They should coordinate and maintain close communication with nurses to positively impact safety in medication. Patients and family members providing care should get more involved in making care decisions and governance for better outcomes. According to Hughes (2011), self-management for patients suffering from chronic illnesses has shown significant improvements in their health with minimum errors and cost over time.
In conclusion, medication error raises concerns over medication quality and safety for patients in the healthcare system. It leads to potential adverse medication events and even death. From the essay, the best solutions for this issue are creating awareness of drugs with adverse effects, standardizing communication within the health care system, and educating patients. Although nurses provide an essential role in noting and preventing these errors, they also play a role in medication errors followed by other stakeholders such as physicians. The most effective prevention for this issue is unknown, but reducing nurses’ workload among different strategies could help reduce incidences of such errors and save lives.
Hammoudi, B. M., Ismaile, S., & Abu Yahya, O. (2018). Factors associated with medication administration errors and why nurses fail to report them. Scandinavian journal of caring sciences, 32(3), 1038-1046. Wiley. Available at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/scs.12546
Hughes, R. G. (2011). Nurses at the “sharp end” of patient care. Chapter 2. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2672/
Hughes, R. G., & Blegen, M. A. (2008). Medication administration safety. Patient safety and quality: An evidence-based handbook for nurses. Chapter 37. NCBI. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2656/?report=printable
Parand, A., Faiella, G., Franklin, B. D., Johnston, M., Clemente, F., Stanton, N. A., & Sevdalis, N. (2018). A prospective risk assessment of informal carers’ medication administration errors within the domiciliary setting. Ergonomics, 61(1), 104-121. Taylor and Francis. Available at https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1556972/1/Franklin_tracked%20changes%20accepted.pdf
Rodziewicz, T. L., Houseman, B., & Hipskind, J. E. (2021). Medical Error Reduction and Prevention. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499956/
Tariq, R. A., Vashisht, R., Sinha, A., & Scherbak, Y. (2020). Medication dispensing errors and prevention. StatPearls: Treasure Island, FL, USA. Available at https://europepmc.org/books/n/statpearls/article-24883/?extid=29763183&src=med
For this assessment, you will develop a 3-5 page paper that examines a safety quality issue pertaining to medication administration in a health care setting. You will analyze the issue and examine potential evidence-based and best-practice solutions from the literature as well as the role of nurses and other stakeholders in addressing the issue.
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