“Mistakes Were Made”
“When people take medicine at home, mistakes happen.” That’s the start of a recent article on NPR’s web site, citing a new study that found that levels of medication errors are rising, and that most mistakes were preventable. The researchers used information from U.S. poison control centers, and looked only at errors that happened outside of health care facilities. Another study, cited in The New York Times, found that almost 85% of parents give children the wrong dose of liquid medicines, and more than 2 in 3 of those mistakes are overdoses. What is behind these errors, and the increase in their numbers? Part of the problem is that with increasing levels of conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, there are more people taking medications for them and therefore more chance of error. Another part of the problem is that the units on the prescription (say, milliliters) may not match the units on the measuring device (say, teaspoons); the researchers on parents and liquid medicines found that simply giving parents oral syringes made a huge difference. Furthermore, as medical care becomes more complex, the home care does too. And sometimes it’s been complex all along; consider the calculations that diabetics must make to calculate their insulin, shown in the potentially daunting chart below. What can we do to decrease the chance of errors? There are several things for starters! One is to READ THE LABELS. Even pharmacies may make errors ...
Source: Dragonfly - Category: Databases & Libraries Authors: Ann Glusker Tags: Health Literacy/Consumer Health Public Health Medication errors overdose Source Type: news
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