Courtesy of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the following are some suggestions for getting involved in your medical care and helping to avoid medication errors.
- Be an active member of your care team.
- Tell your doctor about everything you’re taking, including drugs (prescription/over the counter) and vitamins or herbs.
- Tell your doctor about allergies or adverse reactions you have to medicines.
- Make sure you can read the prescription your doctor gives you.
Ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand, such as the following questions:
- What is the medicine for?
- How am I supposed to take it, and for how long?
- What side effects are likely?
- What do I do if I get side effects?
- Is this medicine safe to take with other medicines or vitamins?
- What food, drink, or activities should I avoid?
- When discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.
- Speak up and ask questions.
- Ask a family member or friend to be with you and be your advocate and speak up for you if you cannot.
- Know that “more” is not always better.
- Learn about your condition and treatment by asking your doctors, nurses and other reliable resources.
Nearly every patient who walks through the doors of a CKHS hospital receives some form of medication. The goal of each hospital is to ensure that every patient receives the correct medication, in the correct dosage, at the correct time. The following pledge can help you stay safe and healthy. Read full article in PDF format.
Medications may be needed to improve my health. By working as a partner with my healthcare team, I can learn to use these drugs safely. I promise to:
- Tell all caregivers about my allergies (food and drug)
- Learn about all of my drugs including the name, strength or dose, why I’m taking the drug and how to take it
- Tell all physicians when new drugs are ordered for me by another physician
- Talk with my caregivers about my use of herbal products, vitamins, food
supplements, or other over-the-counter drugs I may be taking
- Identify myself before taking any type of drugs given to me by a nurse, physician, pharmacist or caregiver
- Question my caregiver about any drug with which I am not familiar
- Tell my caregivers if I have any problem taking the drug for any reason, including the cost
- Check with my caregiver before changing the way I take my drugs
- Faithfully renew my prescriptions on time
- Never share medications with others, or use drugs belonging to someone else
- Store drugs properly and safely, away from children and pets
*Reprinted with permission from the Healthcare Improvement Foundation’s Regional Medication Safety Program for Hospitals, a collaborative of the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, Institute for Safe Medication Practices, and ECRI.
How and when do I talk about prescriptions?
In nearly all U.S. states, the law dictates that a pharmacy must ask you if you would like to be counseled about your medicine. It’s important to get your questions answered, so that you can use your medicines safely.
Who is the best person to talk about prescriptions?
Whichever healthcare professional(s) listens to your questions and concerns. You can talk about prescriptions with your doctor, nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, and/or pharmacist.
To help you organize your information and talk about prescriptions, you can download a form to print, fill out, and take with you to doctor's visits.
Talk About Prescriptions Form (PDF)
Health and Medication Record
This handy, printable guide can help you keep track of the medications you are taking as well as important health information you or your family may need in an emergency.
Health and Medication Record (PDF)