Did you know that Mercy Medical Center has a pharmacy that takes care of only the patients who stay here? Most hospitals do. As a staff pharmacist here since 1989, I can tell you medication safety is our primary concern in Mercy Pharmacy. Here are two ways you can help.
According to the United States Food & Drug Association, adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are a leading cause of illness and death in health care situations. However, I have some good news. There are two key things you can do to lower your ADR risk.
#1 – Keep a regularly updated list of medications. Bring it every time you visit a doctor or hospital.
It is important to have an up-to-date list of all the medications you are taking. Each time you visit the hospital we do something called “medication reconciliation.” This is just a big medical phrase for comparing your list with the medical record to make sure everything is accurate and complete.
Your list does not need to be fancy. An index card or piece of paper that you can carry in your wallet will work well.
If you like to keep records on the computer, a good template is available at http://www.safemedication.com. If you prefer to keep records on your smart phone, there are many free apps available.
One word of caution: if your list is on your computer or smart phone, make sure that a family member can access it if you are not able to do so.
Some things you need to include on your list are:
- Full names of each prescription medication you take, including the milligram strength and all abbreviations, such as SR, XL, and SA.
- How much of each medication you take at each dose (e.g. one tablet, 12 units, two puffs, etc.).
- How often you take each dose (e.g. once a day, once a week on Sunday, AM & PM, etc.).
- The names of any supplements or over-the-counter medications you use.
- Vaccinations you have received and the date given. Pay particular attention to flu shots, pneumonia shots and tetanus boosters.
- Allergies to medications including the reaction you had and the date (if possible).
- The full name and address of your primary health care provider.
- The full name and address of your pharmacy.
#2 – Ask questions.
If you receive a prescription while you are a hospital patient, make sure you know:
- Why you take each medication on your list
- How often and how much of each medication to take
- What side effects may occur
- What to do if side effects do occur
Don't go home without knowing how to use your medications properly, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you have questions. You are the most important person on your health care team!
Taking these two simple steps can go a long way toward reducing your risk for ADRs. Plus, at Mercy you will have our team on your side, as well.
About the Mercy Pharmacy
At Mercy, there is a team of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians caring for you. Our inpatient pharmacy is open 24/7 and staffed with more than 20 pharmacists, 20 certified pharmacy technicians, support personnel and a robot. Together we process nearly 3000 medication doses per day. We also work with your doctors to help you get the safest and most effective medications for your condition. We care for you!