Receiving Medications at the Hospital

 

A pediatrician prescribed 1/4 teaspoonful of Rondec-DM syrup (brompheniramine, dextromethorphan, and pseudoephedrine) four times each day for a child with a bad cold. This medicine is used to treat coughing and a runny or stuffy nose.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is an independent agency that sets standards for US hospitals. The Joint Commission visits hospitals often to see if they are meeting these standards. This agency is especially concerned about your safety.

Hello, my name is... When you are admitted to a hospital or seen at a clinic, you are usually given an identification (ID) bracelet to wear. This bracelet lists your name, your birth date, and usually at least one other number. Some hospitals use other bracelets to signal important information like allergies. Nurses must check these bracelets before giving you any medicine to confirm you are the right patient and to make sure you are not allergic to the medicine. But what if your bracelets are hidden?

If you are hospitalized, nurses will typically give you the medicine your doctor has prescribed. But if the medicine the nurse brings to you doesn’t seem right, it might be that an error has happened. You may be hesitant to speak up about the potential problem. You may believe your doctor and nurse know more about medicine than you do. But in some cases, your instincts may be right, as in the example that follows.

If you are scheduled in advance for surgery or a procedure, you will need to go to the hospital for a pre-admission testing appointment. You might need blood tests, a physical exam, and instructions about what to do before the procedure. This is a great time to go over your current list of medicines with the nurse or doctor.

Let your doctor, nurse, and X-ray technician know if you have an allergy to shellfish or iodine before you have an X-ray procedure that requires an injection of dye (contrast solution). This dye is sometimes used to make things more visible during procedures like a cardiac catheterization, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

If you or a family member has been hospitalized, the first few days after returning home can be confusing. You may have prescriptions to fill for new medicines. You may need to restart some medicines or stop others that you were taking before your hospitalization. Or you may need to take these medicines in different doses, or at different times. These changes may cause you to make a mistake as you try to figure out what medicines to take or how to take them now that you are home.

Before a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, patients are told to remove all metal objects they may be wearing. They are also asked whether they have any metal inside them. Things like pacemakers, prosthetic hips, or retained bullets and shrapnel may cause problems during the test.

In any given week, four out of five adults will take a prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicine. The more information you have about your medicine, the better able you will be to use it properly. But when it comes to prescription medicine, a 2006 study at the University of California in Los Angeles showed that patients left the doctor's office without at least one of these key pieces of information about their new medicine:

When you visit someone in the hospital, you may be amazed to see how many tubes are connected to them. Sometimes one of these tubes becomes disconnected. But don't try to be helpful and reattach the tube. You could connect it to the wrong thing and cause serious harm.

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