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Safety Checks and Five Rights of Medication Administration

Safety Checks and Five Rights of Medication Administration



Errors in drug administration pose a great and potentially deadly risk to patients. It is therefore important that health care professionals, especially nurses, know and practice the "five rights" of safe medication administration. These five rights refer to the right patient, right medication, right dose, right route, and right time. It is important that these are followed and checked during the process of administering medications to prevent harm and maintain patient safety.

This video will illustrate the use of these five "rights" at three essential safety checkpoints in the medication administration process. Although, the procedure will be demonstrated on a specific type of software tool for Medication Administration Record, or MAR, and medication dispensing system, or MDS, the steps shown are universally applicable.

Prior to acquiring medications from the MDS, a nurse must consider if the drug is appropriate given the patient's medical conditions, medication allergies, and current clinical status. A nurse should also confirm when the last dose of the same medication was administered.

Always start by washing your hands using soap and warm water. Rub your hands vigorously for 10-20 seconds, rinse well, and dry with a disposable paper towel. Sanitizers may also be used, if hands are not visibly soiled.

Proceed to the medication preparation area, log into the patient's electronic medical record, and access the MAR to determine the medications prescribed. In this case, the prescription is Acetaminophen 650 mg every 4 hours PRN. With this information at hand, log into the MDS. Select your patient from the list and review the patient name in the MAR and the MDS. This completes the "Right Patient" check for the first checkpoint.

Next, in the MDS, open the patient medication administration list, and from the list, select the medication to be administered. Click the "remove now" button. Now stand back and look for the drawer with a flashing signal and open that drawer. Once open, select the appropriate bin, indicated by a flashing light. Remove the medication from the drawer, and hold the package next to the MAR and compare the medication name with the medication listed on the MAR. At this point, the "Right Medication" step is complete.

At the same time, compare the medication dose-amount and units-listed on the label with the dose listed on the MAR. At this point, the "Right Dose" step is complete. For some items listed on the MAR, you may need to remove more than one medication package to achieve the correct dose.

Also, check the route on the medication package label with the one on the MAR. This is the "Right Route" check. Notice that some medications' routes may not be listed on the label, and the nurse must determine the appropriateness of the form provided for the administration route. For example, tablet equals oral administration.

Finally, review the MAR to identify the time the drug should be administered. Compare that time to the actual time listed on the clock in the medication preparation area. This completes the "Right Time" check. Now close the medications storage area, select "exit" on the computer screen, and log out of the MDS.

In the preparation area, prepare and label the medication according to best practices and procedures. Refer to other videos in this collection to learn about preparation and administration of different types of medications delivered via different routes.

After the medication has been prepared and labeled, perform the second safety check. Again, hold the labeled medication next to the computer screen and compare the label information to that listed on the MAR. Match the patient's name for the "Right Patient" check and the medication name for the "Right Medication" check. Next, compare the dose and the route for the "Right Dose" and "Right Route" check, respectively. Complete the second safety check by referring to the time of administration in the MAR and checking the time on a clock or wristwatch.

You may now leave the preparation area and proceed to the patient's room to complete the third and final check prior to administering the medication. In the patient's room, ask them to state their name and date of birth. Compare this information with what is provided on the name band the patient is wearing. Access the bedside computer and log into the Electronic Medical Record to open the patient's MAR. Confirm that you have the "Right Patient" by comparing the patient's identification band information-name, date of birth, and medical record number-to the one listed in the MAR on the computer screen.

Next, hold the medication close to the computer screen and compare the label information to the one provided in the MAR in the patient's electronic medical record. Again, match the medication name, dose, and route of administration information on the label, to the one listed in the MAR. "Right Medication," "Right Dose," and "Right Route" check is now complete for the third safety checkpoint.

Finally, review the time of administration in the MAR, and check the time on the clock in the patient's room to confirm that it is the right time for administering the medication. This completes the three medication administration safety checks.

"A common mistake made in the medication administration process is neglecting to observe the second check after the medication has been removed from the medication dispensing device and prepared for administration. This step is critical because it will help the nurse ensure that the proper doses have been prepared. Note that some medications provided by pharmacy are at a dose that are below or above what has been prescribed, and it is the nurse's responsibility to ensure that the correct dose has been prepared and correctly administered to the patient using best practice."

You've just watched JoVE's video demonstrating the usage of the "five rights" of medicine administration at the three essential safety checkpoints in the medicine administration process. As always, thanks for watching!

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