Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Care home error rate of liquid medicine doses four times higher than pills

Date:
February 7, 2011
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Care home residents are more than four times as likely to get the wrong dose of medicine when it is in liquid form as they are when given pills/capsules provided in a dispenser, indicates new research.

Care home residents are more than four times as likely to get the wrong dose of medicine when it is in liquid form as they are when given pills/capsules provided in a dispenser, indicates research published online in BMJ Quality and Safety.

Related Articles


Dispensers, known as monitored dosage systems or MDS for short, comprise a tray or cassette with compartments for one or more doses for a particular day or a given time. They are intended to simplify drug rounds for care home staff and cut the risk of mistakes.

But swallowing difficulties mean that some elderly people need to take their medicines in liquid form, while drugs, such as inhalers, injections, cancer drugs, and those requiring refrigeration, cannot be provided in dispensers.

Most care homes therefore usually use two parallel systems of drug administration, say the study authors, who set out to compare the dosing error rates in these systems.

Included in the research were 233 residents in 55 UK care homes, which were selected to provide a representative sample of different sizes, ownership, and type of care offered.

Dosing errors were picked up during the course of two drug rounds for each of the residents and from data collected from error reports from a recent previous study of the same group of care home residents.

Tablets/capsules in dispensers accounted for more than half (53%) of medicines given to the residents, with just under a third (29%) of pills not provided in dispensers. Around one in nine drugs was in liquid form and around 4% were inhalers. The remainder were injectables/creams/eye-drops.

The results showed that mistakes were more than four times as likely to be made with a liquid medicine as they were with a tablet/capsule from a dispenser.

And the likelihood of a mistake was 19 times higher when using a cream, injection or eye drop, and more than 33 times as likely when an inhaler was used.

Although the error rate was lower, mistakes were also made with tablets/capsules. The rate was twice as high for tablets/capsules provided in the manufacturer's original packing as it was for pills provided in a dispenser.

Older people are already at much higher risk from drug errors and the subsequent consequences, because they often need to take several medicines for several ailments, and they metabolise drugs differently, say the authors

But although dispensers seem to carry less risk of a dosing error, they are not without their difficulties, say the authors.

They require the manual transfer and checking of pills, which is both labour-intensive and expensive, and this is not easy when several tablets are needed for one compartment, they point out.

But for those medicines that cannot be provided in this way, care home staff need better training in how to administer them safely, say the authors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Phillip Alldred, Claire Standage, Olivia Fletcher, Imogen Savage, James Carpenter, Nick Barber and David Kenneth Raynor. The influence of formulation and medicine delivery system on medication administration errors in care homes for older people. BMJ Qual Saf, 7 February 2011 DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs.2010.046318

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Care home error rate of liquid medicine doses four times higher than pills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207225945.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, February 7). Care home error rate of liquid medicine doses four times higher than pills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207225945.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Care home error rate of liquid medicine doses four times higher than pills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207225945.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Suicide Rates Up For Young Women In U.S.

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) According to a report from the CDC, suicide rates among young women increased from 1994 to 2012 while rates among young men have decreased. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) Liberia&apos;s last Ebola patient has been released, and the country hasn&apos;t recorded a new case in a week. However, fears of another outbreak still exist. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins