Medication Safety Tips
We want to make sure you are comfortable with all parts of your treatment, including taking new medications. Most importantly, if you ever have questions about your medication, please ask your doctor or nurse.
- When you come to the hospital, bring all of your medications with you, or have your family bring them after you are admitted. Include all your prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, as well as dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbals. It is very important that your doctors and nurses know about all medications you take.
- After your doctor or nurse has reviewed and recorded your medications, send them home with family or a friend. Please let your nurse know if this is not possible.
Taking Medication While in the Hospital
Taking your own medications without the nurse’s knowledge could cause serious medical issues. While you are in the hospital, all your medications will be issued by the hospital’s pharmacy and given to you by a nurse.
If the hospital pharmacy does not carry the same medication you are currently taking, your doctor will substitute a very similar and equally effective medication from the pharmacy’s “formulary” or medication list. The formulary is a list of the most commonly prescribed and clinically effective medications available.
If you are not comfortable taking a medication from the hospital formulary, please tell your doctor or nurse, and they may allow you to take the medications you have brought from home if they feel it is safe for you to do so.
Your Role in Medication Safety
It is important that you educate yourself about your medications. These tips can help you learn more about what you are taking while in the hospital:
- If you have questions about receiving a new or different medication, please don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or nurse. Voice any questions or concerns about a medication before you begin taking it. Your nurse can tell you the frequency and dosage of all your medications.
- Make sure your nurse verifies your identity before you take medications.
- Look at all medicines before you take them. If it looks different to you, ask why.
- Remind the nurse or doctor if you have allergies to any medications, dye, food or latex.
- Before any test or procedure, ask if it will require any dyes or medicines that you might be allergic to.
Have the doctor or nurse go over each medication with you and/or a family member before you leave the hospital. Update your medication list at home if any prescriptions change or if new medications are added. After you get home, if you have questions about your medications, it is important to call your doctor.