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Avoiding medication errors through good communication

When a Pennsylvanian has an elderly loved one who is on a number of different medications, it is important to make certain that all of the loved one's doctors and health care professionals are on the same page. Medication errors can happen when there is a break in communication, potentially harming the patient as a result.

If they need to go to the hospital, their caregiver should plan to bring a complete list of all of their medications, including prescriptions, supplements, vitamins and over the counter medicines. The list should include the frequency, the dosages and the times they take them.

If the patient is going to be admitted, the caregiver should give the nurse a copy of the medication list and make certain it is inputted into the electronic medical record. When the patient is discharged, the caregiver should ask for a complete list of the medications that were given while in the hospital. If any new medications are prescribed, the caregiver should ask for the reason and request that the reason for changes is written in the discharge paperwork.

When a person takes a number of different prescriptions, doctors and hospital staff may make mistakes if they are not aware of everything that is being taken or prescribed. Guarding against a preventable and potentially harmful medication error is important, and communication is key. People should not be afraid to speak up and to ask questions about their loved one's care, and if harm results from such an error, they might find it advisable to discuss their options with a medical malpractice attorney.

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