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Lift obstacles to patient education

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices released survey data indicating that time pressure, a need for medication error information, and a shortage of adequate materials may impede nurses' efforts to teach patients how to take their medications after discharge. The survey, which received 252 responses, aimed to identify areas where medication education needs more support.


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Nurses' responses to the survey revealed that:


[white diamond suit] The most common methods of patient education about drug administration took place in the form of verbal discussions at discharge and during drug administration (94% and 84%, respectively).


[white diamond suit] Written information printed from a computer program; written information developed internally; leaflets describing disease, procedure, and medication; and video, television, or intranet sites were all used less than half of the time (40%, 30%, 29%, and 9% for all or most patients, respectively).


[white diamond suit] Half of the respondents reported having little to no information to give patients regarding medication error prevention.


[white diamond suit] Insufficient time/staffing ranked high as a barrier to patient education, cited by 43% of respondents: 35% noted a lack of written materials in the patient's native language; 28% cited a lack of written materials about drug therapy for patients; 28% noted a lack of written materials suitable for the patient's health literacy/reading level; and 19% cited a lack of pharmacy/pharmacist resources to aid in patient education.


[white diamond suit] A majority of respondents successfully taught patients about medication administration by requiring them to repeat an explanation or demonstrate drug administration techniques (68%).


[white diamond suit] Approximately 79% of respondents offer patients a way to contact staff members after discharge with medication questions.



Source:Institute for Safe Medication Practices: Results for ISMP Survey on Educating Patients about Medications. Available online: