September 20, 2022

World Patient Safety Day: Medication without Harm

World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) is held annually as one of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global public health days.

WPSD provides an opportunity to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance understanding, and work towards global solidarity and action to promote patient safety.

This year’s theme is Medication without Harm: Know. Check. Ask.

Yesterday, Northern Health marked World Patient Safety Day across our sites, with staff donning orange safety vests and stickers to help raise awareness of the day – and the important role we all play in medication safety.

Almost every person around the world will, at some point in their life, take medications to prevent or treat illness. However, medications sometimes cause serious harm if incorrectly stored, prescribed, dispensed, administered or if monitored insufficiently.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the risk of medication errors and associated medication-related harm. It is in this context that ‘Medication Safety’ was selected as the theme for the WHO World Patient Safety Day 2022.

Erika Dax, Quality Coordinator – Surgical Division, explained there are a number of ways staff can get involved in promoting medication safety.

“We are encouraging staff at each huddle to lead conversations about medication safety, including inpatient NUMS, medical leads, pharmacists and all medication safety portfolio holders. Staff can also take part in the Northern Health Medication Safety Quiz as a fun way to refresh knowledge. After completing the quiz, staff can visit their area NUM and collect a treat!” Erika said.

In recognition of World Patient Safety Day, our dedicated quality team chatted to consumer, Janet, who is a strong advocate for healthcare workers listening to their patients.

Janet emphasised the importance of clinicians asking their patients questions around medications, prior to prescribing, to help prevent medication harm.

She recalls a past experience where she was able to prevent medication harm, as she knew which medications she was allergic to and was actively involved in her care.

Janet said, “Before providing any medication to patients, it’s really important that clinicians ask questions and listen to the patient. There also needs to be checks done to ensure medication is safely prescribed.”

Clare McCarthy, Director – Quality, Safety & Patient Experience, said, “Janet’s experience confirms education provided by our staff — about her medication — gave her the confidence and information to speak up. A testament to our staff.”

For more information on medication safety, click here.

Featured image:

Front (left to right): Sophie Rodier – Manager Patient Experience & Consumer Participation, Vinod Chellaram – Director of Pharmacy, Mandy Maberly – Clinical Governance Coordinator and Marisa Argetto – Administrative Coordinator & PROMPT Administrator

Back (left to right): Julie Shelton – Quality Coordinator, Fiona Turner – Team Leader – Patient Experience, Clare McCarthy – Director Quality, Safety & Patient Experience, Baneet Bhasin – Quality & Risk System Administrator & Derwin Or – Quality Coordinator