ILWACO - Medication errors have been identified as one of the most frequently occurring threats to patient safety by the Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Database.

Medication reconciliation is extremely important to your health. When effective medication reconciliation does not occur, patients may receive incompatible drugs, wrong dosages, or medications may be duplicated. The medication reconciliation process provides an important opportunity to assure that the patient is correctly receiving all medications necessary to his or her care and to eliminate any medications that are no longer needed by the patient.

Ocean Beach Hospital and Medical Clinics have a medical reconciliation process in place to prevent medication errors. Some steps patients can take to increase the success of this process and to take charge of their health are to:

• Keep a list of current prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs and supplements, with their dosage, route and frequency;

• List how many times per day you take each medication;

• Inform your doctor about any allergies or reactions;

• Ask your doctor whether it's safe to take medications together, or to use certain medications if you take vitamins, herbs and other supplements;

• Follow the directions exactly as prescribed;

• Learn what your medications are for; and

• Read the label on your prescription carefully. Does it have your name on it? Is it the correct medicine? Some medicines have names that sound alike and can be confused.

Often, patients cannot recall the names of their medications and describe them only by color and size. "It is not uncommon for a patient to give us information about their medication by saying, 'I take a blue one in the morning and that orange one once a week,' explains Michele Guelfi, RN at Ocean Beach Hospital. By carrying their medication list with them, we are able to assist patients accurately and more timely."

Attention to the accuracy of medications given to patients as they transition from one care setting to another, or one physician to another, is a high priority at Ocean Beach Hospital. To assist patients with their medication records, Ocean Beach Hospital is providing a convenient medication list card that will be distributed through these locations:

• Ocean Beach Hospital admitting desk

• Ocean Beach Medical Clinic

• Naselle Medical Clinic

• Harbor Home Health

• DSHS, Senior Assistance & Information office

• Willapa Counseling

• Gallery Pharmacy

• Long Beach Pharmacies

• Peninsula fire stations

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