Long-Term Care Around the Globe| Volume 11, ISSUE 4, P275-283, May 2010

Medication Administration in Nursing Homes: Pharmacists' Contribution to Error Prevention


      The elderly use a large number of medications, which exposes them to an increased risk for medication-related errors, especially in nursing homes.


      The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of an educational session addressing good medication administration practices on the medication administration error rate in 2 nursing homes.


      A before-after study was performed, comparing outcome measurements 1 month before and 1 month after implementation of a formal training session on “good medication administration principles.” Medication administration errors were detected using a direct observation method. Two experts (a geriatrician and a clinical pharmacist) scored the clinical relevance of these errors. The study was carried out between March 2007 and June 2007.


      In both nursing homes, the overall error rate (preparation errors and administration errors) decreased after the intervention. This decrease was significant both in nursing home 1 (P < .001) and nursing home 2 (P = .049). None of the observed errors was rated highly likely to cause harm according to the experts.


      An educational session about good medication administration practices provided by a pharmacist is a very simple way to decrease medication administration error rates and to raise awareness on the possible clinical significance of the errors.


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