What strategies can you use to prevent medication errors?

When you go to a hospital in Washington, you expect to receive great medical care. Unfortunately, you could become a victim of a medication error if you do not advocate for your own health and ask the right questions. 

If you have an upcoming visit to a health care facility, or if you take medication, see which tips U.S. News & World Report has to keep you safe. Take steps to keep from becoming a statistic. 

Have the staff verify your identification

Before the hospital staff gives you medication, have them double-check that they have the right patient. There could be someone in the facility who shares your name or looks similar to you. Have them check your identification bracelet, and ask that they check to see if they administer the proper dosage at the right time. 

Bring a friend or relative with you

If hospitals make you anxious or if you are under a lot of stress when you see your doctor, bring someone with you who can act as your advocate. This person helps you recall your current medications, your allergies and any over-the-counter medication or supplements that you take. If you do not have a relative or friend whom you feel can act as your advocate, you can hire a private patient advocate. 

Ask questions

During your time in the hospital or doctor’s office, ask questions if you have them. If you do not understand the instructions for taking your medication, are not clear on why you need a specific prescription or want to know what side effects you can expect, communicate with your pharmacist or physician. One of the most favorable ways to calm concerns about taking medication is to ask questions.