A new report ‘SAFE: Banishing Medication Errors in Care Homes (Safeguard Against Frontline Errors)’ has been launched by Omnicell UK & Ireland, the world-leading provider of automated healthcare and medication adherence solutions. The report is part of a campaign to raise awareness and promote best practice standards of care for the management of medication to help drive change and improve patient safety across care homes.
Earlier this year, the Department of Health found that in England 237 million mistakes occur at some point in the medication process. Out of the 237 million medication errors that occur per year in England, the largest proportion occurs in care homes (41.7%)1.
Residents in care homes take an average of 7.2 medicines per day2. With each additional medicine comes an increased risk of errors in prescription, monitoring, dispensing or administration, adverse drug reactions, impaired medicines adherence and compromised quality of life for patients.
The SAFE report, which is authored by a leading pharmaceutical expert, found within care homes the overwhelming majority of medication errors (92%) happens during administration3. Almost 70% of care home residents have experienced at least one error in their medication regime, according to the finding from the Care Home use of Medicines Study4.
The reliance on outdated paper-based medicines administration records (MAR) means the accuracy of these records need constant review. They also bring a higher risk of human error in the selection and administration process.
Introducing Omnicell eMAR within care homes, automates the entire medication management and administration process making it safe, simple and compliant for everyone involved. The system, gathers information, provides prompts and accurate instructions for staff and gives managers real time medication administration data at the touch of a button, so they can be sure that the right dose has been administered at the right time to the right resident.
With Omnicell eMAR, each individual medication is identified through a bar code applied in pharmacy, which can then be tracked at all stages from check in at the care home to administration to the resident, to unused items which are disposed of or returned to the pharmacy. The system uses on screen photograph identification, provides important medical history for each patient and includes a simple alert and verification system to minimise the risk of medication administration errors in the home.
CQC inspections are much easier for care homes with eMAR. The system provides a clear audit trail and peace of mind that all resident medication has been administered safely through easy to follow processes for all staff. eMAR mitigates compliance risks and provides accurate information in the event that medication is not administered, providing a clear reason as to why. One care home, Coach House Care Home for the Elderly, installed the system after their CQC inspection highlighted their poor management of medication. After the system was implemented the CQC inspected the home again and were reassured by the safety measures that eMAR had put in place.
Paul O’Hanlon, Managing Director at Omnicell UK & Ireland, comments; “We’ve been working with care home managers and staff to implement Omnicell eMAR since its launch in 2016. Since launching eMAR, we found out that staff are willing to embrace systems that improve patient safety and enable them to dramatically reduce medication errors. The academic study commissioned by the Department of Health, helped to raise awareness of the scale of medication errors within the NHS and highlighted the need for technology to help to prevent them. The SAFE report recommends automation as a safety net for minimising selection and administration errors by care home staff in medicines rounds.”
This year, Omnicell is implementing a SAFE campaign amongst key opinion leaders within care homes, secondary care and pharmacies in order to raise awareness of the impact of medication errors. The campaign aims to drive real change and awareness of the role that technology can play in tackling the problem. You can support the campaign with the hashtag #BanishMedErrors.
For more information visit www.omnicell.co.uk.
For a copy of the SAFE report or Standard of Care
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