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Reduce Medical Errors by Coordinating Care

April 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 181

The more medical diagnoses or conditions you have and the more complex medications you are taking, the more risk you have for medical error. Just taking two medications can increase the risk for dangerous complications or side effects. As you multiply the number of conditions and medications that need to be balanced, the risk rises.

The average 65 year-old, for example, is taking 5-6 medications a day. As healthcare becomes more specialized, the more likely it is that these drugs are being prescribed by multiple practitioners. The burden of clear and accurate communication between all of these caregivers is on you, the patient.

If you forget to communicate all the conditions for which you are being treated and the correct names and doses of medications you are taking, it is easy for errors to occur. Not only that, you can take something that seems relatively harmless like an over the counter cold remedy or aspirin and suddenly find that it seriously interferes or dangerously interacts with medications you are already taking. Even certain foods can cause interactions. It can be mind-boggling to try to keep all the details straight, especially when you are not feeling your best.

You can reduce the risk of medical complications and errors by assigning one practitioner to manage and coordinate all of the variables involved in your care. A registered professional nurse is an ideal practitioner to carry out this function, since case management and care coordination is a core role for nurses.

As healthcare becomes more specialized and complex, there is an increased need for care coordination and management. The Affordable Care Act attempts to address this important need by requiring health insurance plans to provide coverage for this role.

The nurse is knowledgeable about a wide variety of conditions, drug complications and interactions. Plus, he or she is able to communicate effectively with a wide range of specialists. In this way, your care can be integrated. This may even result in being able to reduce the number of medications you are taking.

I am not suggesting that you give your power and responsibility for being aware of your conditions and medications over to someone else. You always need to be aware of what you are taking and why. What I am suggesting is that you may also benefit from having a knowledgeable professional at your side. This person can oversee the various aspects of your treatment and advocate for you, when your care becomes complex.

In cases of multiple medical conditions and medications, the risk for adverse drug events, interactions and errors can be radically reduced by adding a professional care coordinator as a member of your personal healthcare team.

Aila Accad, RN, MSN is an award-winning speaker, bestselling author and certified coach, Reiki Master and EFT advanced practitioner & trainer who specializes in quick ways to release stress and empower your life. A member of the National Speakers Association, she is a popular keynote speaker and radio and television guest. Her bestselling book "34 Instant Stress-Busters, Quick tips to de-stress fast with no extra time or money" is available at Sign up for De-Stress Tips & News at and receive a gift, "Ten Instant Stress Busters" e-book.

Source: EzineArticles
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