Medication administration errors for older people in long-term residential care

Ala Szczepura, Deidre Wild, Sarah Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Background Older people in long-term residential care are at increased risk of medication prescribing and administration errors. The main aim of this study was to measure the incidence of medication administration errors in nursing and residential homes using a barcode medication administration (BCMA) system. Methods A prospective study was conducted in 13 care homes (9 residential and 4 nursing). Data on all medication administrations for a cohort of 345 older residents were recorded in real-time using a disguised observation technique. Every attempt by social care and nursing staff to administer medication over a 3-month observation period was analysed using BCMA records to determine the incidence and types of potential medication administration errors (MAEs) and whether errors were averted. Error classifications included attempts to administer medication at the wrong time, to the wrong person or discontinued medication. Further analysis compared data for residential and nursing homes. In addition, staff were surveyed prior to BCMA system implementation to assess their awareness of administration errors. Results A total of 188,249 medication administration attempts were analysed using BCMA data. Typically each resident was receiving nine different drugs and was exposed to 206 medication administration episodes every month. During the observation period, 2,289 potential MAEs were recorded for the 345 residents; 90% of residents were exposed to at least one error. The most common (n = 1,021, 45% of errors) was attempting to give medication at the wrong time. Over the 3-month observation period, half (52%) of residents were exposed to a serious error such as attempting to give medication to the wrong resident. Error incidence rates were 1.43 as high (95% CI 1.32-1.56 p <0.001) in nursing homes as in residential homes. The level of non-compliance with system alerts was very low in both settings (0.075% of administrations). The pre-study survey revealed that only 12/41 staff administering drugs reported they were aware of potential administration errors in their care home. Conclusions The incidence of medication administration errors is high in long-term residential care. A barcode medication administration system can capture medication administration errors and prevent these from occurring.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume11
Issue number82
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2011

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Medication Errors
Long-Term Care
Medication Systems
Nursing Homes
Observation
Incidence
Home Care Services
Nursing Staff
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Nursing
Prospective Studies

Bibliographical note

Full text available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2318-11-82
Published under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0

Cite this

Medication administration errors for older people in long-term residential care. / Szczepura, Ala; Wild, Deidre; Nelson, Sarah.

In: BMC Geriatrics, Vol. 11, No. 82, 07.12.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Background Older people in long-term residential care are at increased risk of medication prescribing and administration errors. The main aim of this study was to measure the incidence of medication administration errors in nursing and residential homes using a barcode medication administration (BCMA) system. Methods A prospective study was conducted in 13 care homes (9 residential and 4 nursing). Data on all medication administrations for a cohort of 345 older residents were recorded in real-time using a disguised observation technique. Every attempt by social care and nursing staff to administer medication over a 3-month observation period was analysed using BCMA records to determine the incidence and types of potential medication administration errors (MAEs) and whether errors were averted. Error classifications included attempts to administer medication at the wrong time, to the wrong person or discontinued medication. Further analysis compared data for residential and nursing homes. In addition, staff were surveyed prior to BCMA system implementation to assess their awareness of administration errors. Results A total of 188,249 medication administration attempts were analysed using BCMA data. Typically each resident was receiving nine different drugs and was exposed to 206 medication administration episodes every month. During the observation period, 2,289 potential MAEs were recorded for the 345 residents; 90{\%} of residents were exposed to at least one error. The most common (n = 1,021, 45{\%} of errors) was attempting to give medication at the wrong time. Over the 3-month observation period, half (52{\%}) of residents were exposed to a serious error such as attempting to give medication to the wrong resident. Error incidence rates were 1.43 as high (95{\%} CI 1.32-1.56 p <0.001) in nursing homes as in residential homes. The level of non-compliance with system alerts was very low in both settings (0.075{\%} of administrations). The pre-study survey revealed that only 12/41 staff administering drugs reported they were aware of potential administration errors in their care home. Conclusions The incidence of medication administration errors is high in long-term residential care. A barcode medication administration system can capture medication administration errors and prevent these from occurring.",
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AU - Szczepura, Ala

AU - Wild, Deidre

AU - Nelson, Sarah

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N2 - Background Older people in long-term residential care are at increased risk of medication prescribing and administration errors. The main aim of this study was to measure the incidence of medication administration errors in nursing and residential homes using a barcode medication administration (BCMA) system. Methods A prospective study was conducted in 13 care homes (9 residential and 4 nursing). Data on all medication administrations for a cohort of 345 older residents were recorded in real-time using a disguised observation technique. Every attempt by social care and nursing staff to administer medication over a 3-month observation period was analysed using BCMA records to determine the incidence and types of potential medication administration errors (MAEs) and whether errors were averted. Error classifications included attempts to administer medication at the wrong time, to the wrong person or discontinued medication. Further analysis compared data for residential and nursing homes. In addition, staff were surveyed prior to BCMA system implementation to assess their awareness of administration errors. Results A total of 188,249 medication administration attempts were analysed using BCMA data. Typically each resident was receiving nine different drugs and was exposed to 206 medication administration episodes every month. During the observation period, 2,289 potential MAEs were recorded for the 345 residents; 90% of residents were exposed to at least one error. The most common (n = 1,021, 45% of errors) was attempting to give medication at the wrong time. Over the 3-month observation period, half (52%) of residents were exposed to a serious error such as attempting to give medication to the wrong resident. Error incidence rates were 1.43 as high (95% CI 1.32-1.56 p <0.001) in nursing homes as in residential homes. The level of non-compliance with system alerts was very low in both settings (0.075% of administrations). The pre-study survey revealed that only 12/41 staff administering drugs reported they were aware of potential administration errors in their care home. Conclusions The incidence of medication administration errors is high in long-term residential care. A barcode medication administration system can capture medication administration errors and prevent these from occurring.

AB - Background Older people in long-term residential care are at increased risk of medication prescribing and administration errors. The main aim of this study was to measure the incidence of medication administration errors in nursing and residential homes using a barcode medication administration (BCMA) system. Methods A prospective study was conducted in 13 care homes (9 residential and 4 nursing). Data on all medication administrations for a cohort of 345 older residents were recorded in real-time using a disguised observation technique. Every attempt by social care and nursing staff to administer medication over a 3-month observation period was analysed using BCMA records to determine the incidence and types of potential medication administration errors (MAEs) and whether errors were averted. Error classifications included attempts to administer medication at the wrong time, to the wrong person or discontinued medication. Further analysis compared data for residential and nursing homes. In addition, staff were surveyed prior to BCMA system implementation to assess their awareness of administration errors. Results A total of 188,249 medication administration attempts were analysed using BCMA data. Typically each resident was receiving nine different drugs and was exposed to 206 medication administration episodes every month. During the observation period, 2,289 potential MAEs were recorded for the 345 residents; 90% of residents were exposed to at least one error. The most common (n = 1,021, 45% of errors) was attempting to give medication at the wrong time. Over the 3-month observation period, half (52%) of residents were exposed to a serious error such as attempting to give medication to the wrong resident. Error incidence rates were 1.43 as high (95% CI 1.32-1.56 p <0.001) in nursing homes as in residential homes. The level of non-compliance with system alerts was very low in both settings (0.075% of administrations). The pre-study survey revealed that only 12/41 staff administering drugs reported they were aware of potential administration errors in their care home. Conclusions The incidence of medication administration errors is high in long-term residential care. A barcode medication administration system can capture medication administration errors and prevent these from occurring.

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DO - 10.1186/1471-2318-11-82

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JO - BMC Geriatrics

JF - BMC Geriatrics

SN - 1471-2318

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