March 29, 2021

Standard 4: What you need to know

In the lead up to organisation wide Accreditation from 24-18 May 2021, each week Northern Health will be focusing on a different Standard. You will hear from the Chairs of each Standard Committee on what you need to know.

This week we spoke to Vinod Chellaram, Director of Pharmacy, about Standard 4: Medication Safety

“Everyone has a role to play in medication safety at Northern Health,” Vinod said.

“The patient is the central focus in medication management and all clinicians are responsible for working collaboratively to ensure the patient receives safe and effective care. The patient/carer is always involved in shared decision making throughout the process of medication management including prescribing and administration of medications and medication counselling,” he added.

What is this standard about?

The Medication Safety Standard aims to ensure that clinicians safely prescribe, dispense and administer appropriate medicines. It also aims to ensure that consumers are informed about medicines, and understand their own medicine needs and risks.

At Northern Health, this standard looks likeā€¦.

We work together collaboratively when prescribing, administering and dispensing medications and provide information to patients to ensure the patient is kept safe and medication errors are minimised during their inpatient stay and the patent is discharged safely and continues to stay well.

When administering medications, we follow the 7 rights of medication administration (RIGHT patient, RIGHT drug, RIGHT dose, RIGHT route, RIGHT time, RIGHT documentation, RIGHT reason). We have a strong reporting culture, reporting medication incidents and we learn about the trends in medication errors and work together to improve medication safety across the organisation. The patient is the central focus of care and they are a key component of shared decision making and involved in the decisions around medication treatment throughout their stay.

What are the top 5 ways staff can be prepared for Accreditation against this Standard?

  1. Ensure the patient is involved in all aspects of medication management and ensure they are provided with information in a way they understand
  2. Perform a Best Possible Medication History and Medication Reconciliation at admission to reduce the risk of medication related errors
  3. Know the Medication Safety Improvement projects in your area, reflect on what you are most proud of
  4. Keep medication rooms tidy, and ensure all medications are stored appropriately (e.g. locked in the medication room, schedule 8 safe)
  5. Be involved in education sessions on medication safety including in services and presentations

What are the top 5 questions staff needs to be able to answer about this Standard?

  1. What types of medication related incidents keep you up at night and what has your area done to reduce the risk of these?
  2. How do you involve the patient/carer in decisions about their medications?
  3. How do you store medications safely and in accordance with legislative requirements in your area?
  4. How do you report a medication incident or new allergy/Adverse Drug Reaction? How do you know what types of medication incidents are reported in your area?
  5. What are the high risk medicines at Northern Health and what are some strategies used to reduce the risk of medication errors with these medicine classes?

Is there anything else you would like staff to know about this Standard?

Medication Safety is something you practice every day, we should all be proud of the work we do to improve medication safety and remember to highlight this and be proud when speaking to the assessors.

To learn more about Standard 4, please click here.


Featured image (left to right): Sarah Charles, Quality and Medication Safety Lead Pharmacist and Vinod Chellaram, Director of Pharmacy.