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How can the safe administration of drugs to patients with dysphagia be managed?

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  • Article: Serrano Santos JM et al (2012) Drug administration guides in dysphagia. Nursing Times; 108: 21, 15-17.

Key points

  • Nurses may benefit from specific training in the administration of medication to patients with dysphagia
  • An individualised medication administration guide (I-MAG) can help nurses to administer medication to this group and increase safety
  • Nurses often feel more confident in their practice when I-MAGs are in place
  • Time and safety are nurses’ main concerns when administering medication to patients with dysphagia
  • Research to determine the cost-effectiveness of I-MAGs is needed

Let’s discuss

  • Think about a patient in your ward or unit who has dysphagia. What measures have you taken to ensure their drugs are administered safely?
  • Why are patients with dysphagia more likely to suffer a medication administration error than those without swallowing difficulties? You should find this link useful.
  • How can the risk of error be reduced?
  • What information do you need to ensure safe drug administration for this group of patients?
  • What should you consider before administering drugs via enteral feeding tubes? You should find this link useful.
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