Evaluation of the medication delivery process at LIFE healthcare
Poovan, Indren Rama
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The medication administration process in Life Healthcare is a complex, multidisciplinary process with the potential for error occurring at various stages of the process. The complexity of the process makes it impossible for one solution to be considered as the "magic bullet". Building safety into the process requires interventions at various stages of this process; hence the solutions proposed. The objective of this dissertation was to evaluate nursing medication administration practices and design solutions which will reduce the probability of the occurrence of errors. The rationale for limiting this project to nursing was that, upon review of the incident statistics correlated by Life Healthcare, 63% of medication errors were attributable to nursing administration. The company's policies governing the medication administration process, was reviewed and assessed for compliance by observing the medication rounds. The main findings were that policies and procedures were comprehensive, easy to understand and easily accessible to all staff. However, the ward rounds and interviews with specialists revealed that, despite being aware, the staff members were often not complying with the policies. The research confirmed that there was inconsistent reporting of incidents within the group and that under reporting was rife. Where errors had been reported, root cause analysis was not always performed, which posed a challenge to formulating and implementing corrective and preventive measures. The recommendations included: 1. Dedicated staff for the medication administration rounds, 2. Implement scheduling system to produce a medication administration schedule, 3. A system to record and report errors to determine root cause analysis, 4. Investigate the appropriateness of the information on the medication label. These recommendations must not be viewed in isolation, and although not exhaustive, can provide Life Healthcare with a basis to resolve this very complex issue.