Safety Measures to Reduce Medication Administration Errors in Paediatric Intensive Care Unit
Objective: Medicine administration is the last process of the medication cycle. However, errors can happen during this process. Children are at an increased risk from these errors. This has been extensively investigated but evidence is lacking on effective interventions. Therefore, the aim of this research is to propose safety measures to reduce medication administration errors (MAE) in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Method: The research was carried out over five studies; 1) systematic literature review, 2) national survey of PICU medication error interventions, 3) retrospective analysis of medication error incidents, 4) prospective observation of the administration practice, and 5) survey of PICU healthcare professionals’ opinions on MAE contributory factors and safety measures. Results: Hospital MAE in children found in literature accounted for a mean of 50% of all reported medication error reports (n= 12552). It was also identified in a mean of 29% of doses observed (n= 8894). This study found MAE retrospectively in 43% of all medication incidents (n= 412). Additionally, a total of 269 MAEs were observed (32% per dose observation). The characteristics of the interventions used to reduce MAE are diverse but it illustrated that a single approach is not enough. Also for an intervention to be a success it is fundamental to build a safety culture. This is achieved by developing a culture of collaborative learning from errors without assigning blame. Furthermore, MAE contributing factors were found to include; interruptions, inadequate resources, working conditions and no pre-prepared infusions. The following safety measures were proposed to reduce MAE; 1) dose banding, 2) improved lighting conditions, 3) decision support tool with calculation aid, 4) use of pre-prepared infusions, 5) enhance the double-checking process, 6) medicine administration checklist, and 7) an intolerant culture to interruption. Conclusion: This is one of the first comprehensive study of to explore MAE in PICU from different perspectives. The aim and objectives of the research were fulfilled. Future research includes the need to implement the proposed safety measures and evaluate them in practice.