Should drug administration be delegated to HCAs? What do you think?
A recent research study found nine out of 10 care home patients are regularly exposed to drug administration errors, with half deemed to be serious mistakes. Lack of time and interruptions were identified as a major cause rather than lack of training.
Drug rounds for 345 older patients were monitored in “real time” over three months using a new barcode medication administration system. The system identified when a potential mistake was about to be made, alerting the nurse or care assistant so that an error was averted.
Study author Deidre Wild, a senior resarch fellow at UWE, told Nursing Times both staff and managers needed to be more aware of the “high level of risk of medication error” that residents were routinely exposed to and “greater effort needs to be made to protect staff undertaking medication rounds from other work demands”.
Ms Wild added that the findings highlighted the potential for increasing patient safety by using technology such as that used in her study.
She said care staff in nursing homes might be able to use it to safely deliver more simple medications, so registered nurses had more time for higher level nursing activities. But she warned: “This should not be perceived as an opportunity to reduce valuable registered nursing time in favour of employing more care staff at less cost.”