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How can I keep my parent safe from medication errors in the hospital?

Older people in the hospital are particularly sensitive to the effects of medication errors. They tend to be sicker and taking more than one medication. Older patients also may not be able to see, hear or remember as well, which can minimize their ability to see a problem in their care and speak up promptly. There are some special things to pay attention to that could affect how your older parent’s medications are delivered safely in the hospital:
  • Keeping a journal may help you remember how the various medicines affect your parent. Older patient’s bodies may process medications differently than in younger patients. Monitoring is very important until the best dosage and route are determined. The journal can help you remember which dosage is right for them.
  • Older patients can be on powerful medications that need to be watched very carefully. These medicines can cause harm if not used in precisely the right way. A 2010 study of hospitalized Medicare patients found that errors were common among patients receiving high-risk medications such as blood thinners (warfarin and heparin), insulin for diabetes, and digoxin. Patients themselves, families and caregivers should be particularly alert to medication-related activity if the patient is on one of these types of drugs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.