Over-labelling patient’s own medicines in the event of dose changes is standard practice in most hospitals. It is better for patient safety, reduces waste and also reduces delays in patient discharge.
A lack of onsite dispensaries in community hospitals at East Sussex Healthcare Trust has meant that staff have not been able to follow this practice. Staff in the Community Health Services Medicines Management team have used LiA to find and implement a solution to this problem.
They overcame a number of practical issues and challenges, seeking permission from the CQC to create an SOP – a first in a community setting! As a result, they are now able to support over-labelling in their community hospitals.
To date, the work done by the team has reduced delayed and unsafe discharges and missed doses. It has increased patient/practitioner safety, efficiency, patient self-medication and the reduction in waste will lead to projected cost savings of almost £6,000 per annum. The new over-labelling process has been used with over 120 patients in community hospitals since November 2013 when the new SOP was approved.
Christina Short, Chief Pharmacist (Community Health Services), who has led the project, said: “It's hard to put into words just how much this facility means to us as a team but more importantly to our patients. It has been well worth all the time taken to get this just right, I’m so proud of my team! I know from my own practice that being able to promptly discharge a patient who required 1:1 nursing saved the Trust 3 shifts of 'special' nursing costs - plus a confused patient was restored to the familiar surroundings of his own home a day earlier that would otherwise have been possible.”