Impact of Nurse Education on the Incidence of Omitted Medication Doses in Hospital Inpatients

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Abstract

Background:

A significant number of medication doses are omitted in hospitals because of the inability of nurses to source the medication and their lack of awareness of the significance of omitting medication doses.

Aim:

To investigate the impact of nurse education on the incidence of omitted medication doses in hospital inpatients.

Method:

A prospective study at a 174-bed hospital comparing the incidence of omitted medication doses before and after the introduction of a nurse education program (education sessions, ward posters, questionnaires). Omitted medication doses were categorised as ‘drug not available’, ‘chart not signed’, ‘withheld’, ‘refused by patient’ or ‘nil orally’.

Results:

Audits of over 40 000 medication administration records were undertaken - 20 154 medication doses were reviewed for 99 patients pre-intervention and 24 337 medication doses were reviewed post-intervention. 4.2% of medication doses were not administered as prescribed pre-intervention compared to 2.9% post-intervention (p < 0.001).

Conclusion:

The interventions highlighting the importance of not omitting doses and the availability of information on how to obtain medications were effective in reducing the number of omission errors.

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