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<July 2020>
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Medication Safety

Medications play a vital role in your medical treatment and healing process. It is very important that your health care provider is aware of all medications (including prescription, non-prescription, traditional, holistic, herbal, vitamins and supplements) you are taking to help us provide you with the best care.

When you come to the hospital, you can help us to ensure your safety by:

  • Telling your health care provider what prescriptions, vitamins, herbal remedies, food supplements and/or over the counter medications you are taking.
  • Bringing all of your medications in their original containers with you. If you are unable to bring the original containers with you, you can obtain a current list of your prescribed medications from your pharmacist.
  • Letting your health care provider(s) know if you get prescriptions from more than one physician.
  • Alerting your health care provider if you take medication differently than how it is printed on the container.
  • Understanding what you take and why, when and how you need to take the medication.

While in hospital your home medication list is compared to prescribed medications while in hospital to alert your health care team to any possible interactions or missed medications. This process is called Medication Reconciliation and is completed each time you move from one service area to another.

  • Ask your health care provider about the medication being administered.
  • If you notice that a medication you are given looks different from the one you take at home, ask your nurse to verify it.
  • Home medications are not allowed to be kept at your bedside unless authorized by your physician. Your family is encouraged to take any medications you may have brought with you back to your home.
  • Only take those medications that have been prescribed for you while in hospital. DO NOT take medications brought in from home unless authorized by your physician. This puts you at risk of duplication of a medication and/or a serious drug interaction/reaction.
  • Nurses will give you medications ordered by your physician/consultant according to HPHA standard administration times. These may vary slightly from when you normally take your medication at home.
  • If you have any questions about your medications, ask a member of your health care team.

Upon your discharge we will again compare your list of prescribed medications while in hospital to your home medication list.

  • We will provide you with an updated list of the medications that you will be instructed to continue to take upon your return home and tell you which medications must be discarded.
  • You should have an understanding of what your discharge medications are, why they are needed, how and when you need to take them and possible side effects.
  • Seek clarification around any instructions regarding your medications if required.
  • Know who to contact should additional questions about your medications arise.