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This is the final installment in Protecting Yourself from Medication Errors. In Part II, I will discuss protecting you from medication errors in the hospital.

Part III – The Hospital

  • 1. Take your complete list of medications with you to the hospital. Many patients keep a typed list in their wallets. Give this list to you nurse. Ask and make sure the doctor completes the Medication Reconciliation Form. This form ensured that the doctor is aware of your home medications.
  • 2. Do not take your home medications while you are in a hospital. The doctor will prescribe the medications you need at the dosage you need while you are in the hospital. If you take your home medications, you may over medicate yourself or cause a drug interaction.
  • 3. Know the name of each medication you are taking and why. If you are told any different, you should ask about the difference.
  • 4. Know your rights and speak up. If you are unsure of a medication, ask about it. Ask to see the MD’s order. Ask why you are taking it. You have a right to know and YOU may prevent a medication error.
  • 5. Look at all your medications before you take them. Medications may look different in the hospital than at home. The hospital may use a generic brand or you may be on a different strength. Ask about any differences you see. Again, YOU may prevent a medication error.
  • 6. Do not take any medication until your hospital identification is checked.
  • 7. Make sure the hospital is aware of any and all allergies. Make sure you are given an allergy bracelet and that it is noted on your chart and medication administration record (MAR).
  • 8. At discharge, have the nurse go over all your medications. Ask questions about new prescription and dosage changes. Don’t forget to update your list.
  • 9. Remember your rights: Right time and frequency, Right person, Right drug, Right route of administration, and Right dose.

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