Parents and clinicians working in partnership to reduce medication error
On 27th April 2016 Medicines for Children jointly hosted a workshop with the Meds IQ project at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health annual conference in Liverpool. The session focussed on the importance of clinicians working in partnership with parents / carers to reduce harm from paediatric prescribing errors. The session featured patient stories and parent representatives from WellChild and Mothers Instinct, establishing an important dialogue between families and clinicians about medication safety.
Prior to the conference, a planning meeting was held with parent representatives from WellChild, Mothers Instinct and the Meds IQ parent panel to discuss the risks and challenges to safe paediatric prescribing from a parent perspective. The parent representatives explored what barriers they experience in relation to medication safety in caring for their child at home and when visiting the hospital.
Picture (r): WellChild parent representative Hayley Smallman shares with us her daughter's daily medications.
The key issues raised by parents were:
At the conference session in Liverpool, paediatricians, pharmacists and nurses were presented with the key issues raised by the parent representatives. Many of the parent representatives were part of WellChild’s ‘not a nurse but’ campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the challenges facing parents in providing advanced medical care for their child at home. These parents are self-trained, highly skilled carers able to undertake complicated medical procedures and with an impressive knowledge of their child’s medication. The parent representatives spoke on the issues facing parents in regards to medication safety and how health care professionals can help them.
Picture (l): WellChild parent representatives at the RCPCH conference. Picture (r): WellChild parent representative Leanne spoke about how improving communication with health care professionals has helped her daughter's care.
The conference session demonstrated, with real life examples from the parents, the benefits of multi-professional collaboration and engaging with parents / carers to improve medication safety. Health care professionals were asked to make pledges for how they can improve their future work practices to ensure paediatric medication errors are reduced. It was agreed that parents need better access to accurate information on their child’s medications, through sites such as Medicines for Children, and improved communication between health care professionals and parents would bring about safer paediatric prescribing.
The key outcomes from the session to improve paediatric medication safety:
- A partnership between families and clinicians is key to safe medication practice, with input from parents valued and actioned
- Increase access for parents to accurate information on their children’s medicines
- A joined up approach is needed from hospital, GP and pharmacy with increased coordination between prescriber and pharmacy
- Parents should be considered as part of the team when giving medication in hospital
- More knowledge and information sharing for parents on child’s treatment and ways to communicate and manage error