Patient Safety Checklists
Every pharmacist as a health care provider, takes an oath which includes following, “I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients.”In the quoted oath, “optimal outcomes” necessarily imply the safety of use of medications, which in its turn would result in the improved health of the patient. While it is understandable that there are many ways pharmacists can go to adhere to the quoted oath, it will makes sense to underline the core principles of safety that health care providers, including pharmacists must stick to in order to ensure safety of the patient while he is being treated. These principles are taken into consideration by pharmacists in their daily routines across any of existing patient care environments.
Pharmacists adhere to improvement of patents’ safety by the following principles and actions:
- Making sure there is a permanent access to all medications that are there. In practice that entails monitoring the medications that a patient might need and informing a patient on the affordability of the medication, while keeping affordable substitutes list prepared. Pharmacists also need to have all logistics of getting medications to a patient established and tested so the medication arrives on time.
- Providing a patient with an information on a medication. That entails sharing information on a medication with a patient, including a route of administration, active components, pharmacology, possible adverse effects, etc. Patients need to make sure the medication they take is safe and efficient.
- Evaluating how appropriate the medication is. That includes providing careful assessing of the particular medication in order to make sure that the treatment set up with this medication would be the most timely, appropriate, efficient, and ultimately safe option for each individual patient.
- Working on improvement of medication adherence. That requires on the part of the pharmacists checking carefully patients’ physicians and other previous health care providers recommendations, prescriptions, details of the medical history, and any other documentation that would be a factor when choosing and administering the medication.
- Providing full scope of quality health and wellness services. That simply entails adherence to delivering needful patient care services that were established and tested as the most efficient for improving the health of patients.
- Performing duly medication management service. That would require on the part of pharmacists a comprehensive review of patients medications, and making sure that all of medications would be working together without avoidable complications. At the same time, an effective, well-thought out treatment plan must be implemented for the treatment or prevention of a potential disease.
- Assessing health status: The health care provider must be able to determine the exact current status of a particular patient in order to provide a careful and thoughtful medical treatment guidance, while being able and assess the efficacy of medications therapy at each point.
- Providing the coordination of care transitions: Health care providers would need to coordinate patients if and when they might need to be transferred from one care environment to another through the course of their treatment.
The positive results from the carefully guided safety procedures would include but will not be limited by following:
- Achieved patient’s treatment pre-established goals.
- There were little to none adverse effects observed through the course of the treatment.
- The time a patient spent in a hospital or rehabilitation facility was in fact less than it was expected when the patient was taken into the care unit.
- The visits for emergency care for a patient were decreased or did not happen at all.
- General quality of life of a patient has been improved after the treatment.
- Medication adherence got improved.
- Patient feels satisfaction after the treatment.
- The medical errors have not been observed.
- The cost for the patient as well as for health care system was lessened.
- The overall time required to reach patient treatment goals was lower than it was expected or that is normally observed.
Two major things we’d like to point out as far as necessary safety checks problems pharmacists would need to focus include:
Improvement of medication adherence
Medication adherence is the principle of sticking to exactly the procedure of taking medications as was suggested or prescribed by the medical specialist to a patient. Not taking medications on time, or exactly in the dosage that was prescribed may cause a patient harm, including but not limited to side effects or costly hospitalization. One of the frequent instances for medication non-adherence is forgetting to take a medication or forgetting to get it re-filled in its time. Other reasons we can list here would include younger than allowed age, medication’s side effects, insufficient communication with a healthcare team, memory losses, and general confusion.
As pharmacists are oftentimes the only members of the healthcare team with a complete list of a patients medications at hand. As a consequence, a pharmacist has to be a leader in the process of proper assessment and improvement of medication adherence in direct collaboration with the rest of the patient’s healthcare team.
If non-adherence is reported or it seems common-sensibly that a patient is not adhering to the course, pharmacists have to be trained to work on finding ways for patients to taking their medications as it was prescribed.
Providing Health and Wellness Service
Pharmacists need to be trained in order to provide a wide range of health and overall wellness services. These services would include:
- Measuring blood pressure,
- Measuring blood glucose levels,
- Screening cholesterol levels;
- Immunization screening and administration;
- Implementing stop-smoking programs;
- Educating on diseases.
All of above services would significantly improve patient’s health as well as the overall health of the environments they receive the healthcare. Many of these services can be done in direct collaboration with other members of the healthcare team in the unit. Health and wellness services are of utmost importance for the patients safety. For instance, immunization protects a patient from diseases that can potentially become severe or even life-threatening. Stop-smoking programs can educate patients and help avoiding long term consequences of nicotine use. When carefully implemented, these services can prevent both patients and healthcare providers from high costs related to the treatment of diseases easily prevented when taken care of in a timely manner.