I’m going into the hospital in Kentucky for a fairly serious operation. I take a lot of medications on a regular basis, and I’m afraid that I won’t be “with it” enough to keep them all straight. Any advice?

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It just so happens that the Institute for Safe Medication Practices publishes a “top ten” list of ways to prevent medication errors when you are hospitalized. Here they are:

  1. Share your medication list. Prepare an accurate list of everything you take, from the prescribed medications to that over-the-counter glucosamine-and-chondroitin supplement, and include dosages and frequency.
  2. Discuss your allergies and how you react. You might want to put this down on paper, as well.
  3. Discuss alcohol and drug abuse. Medical staff is obligated to keep this information confidential, but they need to know because the substances may interfere with or intensify your reaction to other medications.
  4. Compare your home medication list with your hospital medication list. Question any discrepancies.
  5. Learn about any new medications. To prevent a medication error, ask both the prescribing doctor and the nurse who administers the medication why you need the medication.
  6. Keep your hospital identification band on. Make sure that someone reads or scans the bracelet before any procedure or drug administration.
  7. Call the nurse if an IV pump beeps. Don’t mess with the pump yourself.
  8. Bring along a helper. If you are unable to monitor the medications you are given, have someone with you who can.
  9. Do not let anyone else press a pain pump button. This prevents overdoses.
  10. Review discharge papers. Compare your updated medication list to the one you had pre-hospitalization, and discuss the changes with your doctor and nurse.

If you experience a medication error, call Gray and White Law at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 and set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.