In 2019, World Patient Safety Day was established through World Health Organization Resolution WHA 72.6 – Global Action on Patient Safety.
The objectives are to enhance global understanding of patient safety, increase public awareness and engagement, and promote global solidarity and actions to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm.
This year, World Patient Safety Day will be observed on Sept. 17 with the theme, “Medication safety”.
One of the goals of this year’s activities is to empower patients and families to be involved in the safe use of medication. Iconic monuments are lit up with orange light as a symbol of this campaign.
The following are tips and recommendations for the safe use of medications:
Inform your doctor of all medications you are taking, including herbal medicines. Studies have shown 25 percent of patients who use herbal medicines did not inform their health care team. Herbal medicines are pharmacologically active – they have effects on the body and can also interact with prescribed non-herbal medicines.
Be aware that nurses and other persons who administer medicines are guided by the five rights or five “Rs” of medication administration: right patient, right drug, right dose, right time, and right route. In some groups, the list is expanded to include right patient education, right documentation, right to refuse, right assessment, and right evaluation. Errors will be reduced if patients do their role too. Right patient: identify yourself to the one who will give you the drug. Name tags help nurses identify you.
Know the name and dose of your medication; the importance of each drug and the indication for its use; the nature of the medication or drug you are taking, how and when to take it, the side effects, or possible interactions with other drugs; the adjustments that you may do if you miss a dose of your medication; allergic reactions to medicines; list down the names of drugs to which you are allergic to; that capsules or tablets are taken whole, unless otherwise instructed; inventory of your medications; and precautions on the storage of your medications. They are best stored in a cool area, not directly exposed to sunlight and away from pets and children. Keep medicines in their original bottles and not mixed with the medications of other persons.
Inform your doctor of any problem that you encounter about drugs prescribed to you. If you find a branded drug to be costly, ask if you can use a cheaper generic brand. Keep a list of all medications you take.
When prescribing medications, your doctor or health caregiver considers the status of your liver and kidney. The liver is responsible for the uptake, concentration, metabolism, and excretion of most drugs. Some drugs are hepatotoxic – they damage the liver. Drug dose adjustment is done or the drug is avoided. Drug-induced liver injury and herbal-induced liver injury are well-recognized medical problems.
The kidneys are responsible for eliminating most drugs. Some drugs have bad effects on the kidneys and are considered nephrotoxic. These are avoided, given in lower doses, or not at all. Inform your doctor of any liver or kidney function impairment that you may have.
Medications are prescribed based on a patient’s unique characteristics or clinical profile. This is one of the reasons you may not use your neighbor’s medications.
If you feel any untoward reaction or have side effects due to a drug or you feel the medication is not working, go back to the same doctor so that he or she can change it, modify the dose, or make other adjustments.
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” — Napoleon Hill