Cumbria Crack

New red apron trial helps prevent medications errors

Nurses Lisa Heary, Diane Gallimore and Alex Irving.

[A] ward at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has been trialling a very simple new system to prevent medication errors.

Elm B ward at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle has been trialling a system where staff wear a red disposable apron when administering medication to indicate they are not to be interrupted.

Interruptions when administering medication can potentially cause mistakes. A study carried out on the ward showed that during four medication rounds staff were interrupted 60 times.

Since the apron was introduced the ward saw a dramatic drop in the number of interruptions. Five rounds were audited and there were a total of 13 interruptions, a reduction of over 78 percent. There were also no medication errors during the trial.

Elizabeth Klein, head of nursing clinical standards, at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “This is a really simple and cost effective idea to prevent mistakes and protect our patients.

“The staff have really embraced the ‘do not disturb’ idea and we’re planning to roll this out in other areas within the Trust.

“Patient care is at the heart of everything we do and we’re always looking for ways we can improve care, improve quality and improve safety.”

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