Medications are an important part of treatment that you receive in the hospital or from your community doctor, but there are things that we do -- or don't do -- that can cause them to not be safe.
When it comes to medication safety, you need to know as much as possible about your medications, including over-the-counter and herbal therapies. You should specifically learn the names of your medications and why you are taking them.
One of the most important ways the hospital helps to make sure you are treated with the right medications is through a process called Medication Reconciliation and you play a very important role in this process
What is medication reconciliation?
Keeping a current list of all medications you are taking is critical in reducing medication errors. Medication reconciliation (MedRec) is a process of ensuring that all health care providers receive the most up-to-date list of medications you are taking and that decisions to continue, change, or discontinue medications is communicated to you and your next care provider.
Where and when does medication reconciliation occur?
The medication reconciliation process will occur every time you move between settings, services or providers of care. It is very important that your medications taken at home are reviewed when you come to hospital. In the hospital, the reconciliation of medications taken at home will occur at all transition points such as on admission, transfer, and at discharge. In the home care setting, the reconciliation of home medications occurs with each visit.
How is the medication reconciliation process carried out?
The medication reconciliation process is carried out by obtaining the best possible medication history. This is done by reviewing all your medications with you (or your family) so that those caring for you understand why you take the medications prescribed to you by your doctor.
Here are some important questions for you to ask about prescription medication:
- What is the name of the medication?
- Why am I taking it?
- How often and when should I take the medicine?
- What effect will it have on me?
- Are there any side effects?
- Do I have any alternatives?
- How should I store my medication?
- How long should I continue taking it?
- What should I do if I miss a dose?
- Is there anything else I should know?
Your safety is important to us. Knowing your medication history is a vital part of your care.
Keep your medication list in your wallet along with your health card.
Please bring the following each time you visit the hospital:
- All of your medications from home, in their original containers, including over-the-counter medications, herbal medicines and vitamin supplements
- An up-to-date list of all of your medications, including:
- Prescriptions (containers, bubble packs, samples, etc.)
- Inhalers, patches, eye/ear drops, medicated lotion, nose sprays, injections, etc.
- Vitamins, herbal products, etc.
- What the drug is for, the dose, and when you need to take it.
Remember to update your medication list when ANY changes are made after all doctor and hospital visits.
What can you do to improve patient safety?
Health care providers at the Yukon Hospital Corporation along with our community pharmacies and family physicians believe that medication reconciliation is a shared responsibility.
Medication reconciliation is a tool to safer patient care.
Join us in taking this important step to Patient Safety. Some helpful hints for you:
- Make sure you understand the instructions on how to take your medication.
- If you have any drug allergies, please tell us.
- Don’t share your medication with others.
- Check expiry dates. Return extra or outdated medication to your pharmacist.
- Use the same pharmacy for all your prescriptions
- Before you use an over the counter medicine or herbal product, make sure it is safe to use with your prescription medication
Medication information is yours for the asking. Ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse any questions you may have about your medications.
Remember, the more you know about your medication, the more you become a team player in your own health care.