If your child is unwell or needs medical care, getting involved in their healthcare is an important step towards making sure they receive the best treatment possible. Children taking medicines need important oversight provided by a parent, and there are several things that parents can do to ensure that all medication taken by their child safe. If your child is in hospital or needs surgery, there are also additional steps that should be taken to prevent mistakes from being made.
Surgical Procedures and Hospital Stays
If your child is required to have a procedure undertaken at a hospital, first examine whether you can choose which hospital your child will go to. If a hospital has more experience in treating a condition, results are usually better for patients when they receive this treatment. In particular, check to see whether there are any available hospitals that often perform this procedure for children.
After your child is checked in to the hospital, monitor their care and get to know the people who have direct contact with them. Studies show that if healthcare workers are questioned on whether or not they have washed their hands, they are more likely to wash their hands regularly over the course of the day. Increasing hand washing is a critical step that can help to prevent infection spreading between healthcare workers and patients.
Children in the hospital for surgery should always wear an identification bracelet, and you should double-check what procedure is about to be performed with everyone on their healthcare team. All hospitals have precautions All hospitals have precautions in place to make sure that the correct procedure is performed on the correct patient, but being another person who confirms this could be the difference between everything going smoothly and a rare but serious mistake.
Precautions When Taking Medicines
If your child is prescribed medicine for their hospital after care, of for more routine doctor’s visits, there are a number of things parents should be aware of.
First, before your child takes any new medications, make sure that you are aware of any current medications they are already taking. This includes alternative or herbal medicines, topical medications, and any vitamins. If you know your child’s weight this can be helpful in making sure that the correct dosage of medicine is given to your child.
If your child has any allergies, or has had any adverse reactions to medications in the past, make sure that you tell your child’s healthcare team about these reactions.
When a doctor provides a prescription, parents should always check and make sure that they can read what has been written. If you cannot read the medication name, the pharmacist may not read it correctly either. Always make sure that the dosage, frequency, and duration of treatment are clear and printed correctly on the prescription and then on the medication bottle. At the time you are given the medication bottle, make sure the details match the prescription paper.
A study undertaken by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences concluded that as many as 88% of medication errors involved the wrong drug being provided, or the wrong dose stated on the medicine bottle.
A lawyer from medical malpractice team explains that the three most common types of paediatric claims are misreading meningitis symptoms, misdiagnosed appendicitis, and medication errors. This means that parents should be particularly vigilant when considering medication errors as a source of risk for their child.
Medication errors can occur at several different stages: ordering (56% of errors) administering (34%), transcription (6%), and dispensing (4%). Physicians are at fault 69% of the time when a medication error occurs. This means that clarifying information with your physician is one of the simplest and most important points in the process at which a parent can take extra care.
Above all else, parents should make sure that they are actively involved in their child’s care at every step of whatever medical process is being undertaken. Be aware of who is on your child’s medical team, and ask questions if anything is unclear at any time. This type of proactive involvement is another safeguard against medical errors occurring, and can help to make sure that your child receives the care they need.