OMNI Health Care produces video series on medication safety in long-term care

In Part 1 of an OMNIway video series on medication safety in long-term care homes, we hear from Streamway Villa registered nurse Lynn Thompson about the protocols involved with receiving and administering pharmaceuticals.

Any medications classified as controlled substances that are received by long-term care homes from the pharmaceutical supplier arrive in sealed pouches. Nurses who receive shipments must immediately fax the supplier to acknowledge it has arrived and been counted, Lynn says.

Nurses also keep a record of all medications on the eMAR (electronic medication administration record) attached to medication carts. The medications are safely secured in the cart, and the drugs come in strip packaging that is individually labelled for every resident, Lynn notes.

In Part 2, we hear about the importance of medication reconciliation and how long-term care homes have strict guidelines when it comes to administering pharmaceuticals.

Medication reconciliation is the process of creating an accurate, complete list of all medications a person is taking. This is crucial to ensuring medication safety, Lynn says.

As part of the process of ensuring strict medication reconciliation, OMNI Health Care homes will each only use one medication supplier. To demonstrate how strict protocols are, Lynn points out that even family members cannot bring in outside medications to give to their loved ones.

Lynn notes that family members sometimes wonder why a long-term care home can only deal with one supplier and why they can’t bring in over-the-counter medications, like eye drops.

“The problem with that is it’s difficult to control,” Lynn explains. “If families are in visiting, and they’re giving eye drops and we’ve got an order for eye drops and we’re giving eye drops, then you’re double-dosing.”

In Part 3, we hear about how homes work to eliminate administration of unnecessary prescription pharmaceuticals.

Administration of prescription medications classified as narcotics – also known as opioid pain relievers – is heavily scrutinized in long-term care homes.

“We try to eliminate any medications we don’t feel are necessary,” Lynn says. “Some (residents) will come (to long-term care homes) on various narcotics that they don’t need. We can either reduce them, or we can try to (put them) on more long-lasting narcotics so they’re not taking them as often.”

These videos are published by Axiom News, originally on OMNI Health Care’s website, The OMNIway. Reposted with permission.