Adverse drug events (ADEs) occur with disturbing frequency in acute care, long-term care, and home care settings. In the Canadian Adverse Events Study, drug- and fluid-related events were the second-most common type of procedure or event to which patient safety incidents were related.
Medication errors that can be prevented include the inadvertent omission of needed home medications, failure to restart home medications following transfer and discharge, duplicate therapy at discharge resulting from brand/generic combinations or formulary substitutions, and errors associated with incorrect doses or dosage forms.
Medication reconciliation is a formal process in which healthcare providers work together with
patients, families, and care providers to ensure that accurate, comprehensive medication information is communicated consistently across transitions of care. It requires a systematic and comprehensive review of all the medications a patient is taking to ensure that medications being added, changed, or discontinued are carefully evaluated. A component of medication management, medication reconciliation informs and enables prescribers to make the most appropriate prescribing decisions for the patient.
You can reduce ADEs by following the medication reconciliation process:
- Obtain a complete and accurate list of each patient's current home medications, including name, dosage, frequency, and route
- Use that list when writing admission, transfer, or discharge orders
- Compare the list to the patient's admission, transfer, or discharge orders, identifying and bringing discrepancies to the attention of the prescriber and, if appropriate, making changes to the orders
- Document resulting changes
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