Aim and objectives: To assess the severity of medicine administration errors to older patients.
Background: Severity of medicine administration errors has been determined in a variety of settings but not in care-of-older-person wards, which this study aims to do.
Design: Undisguised observational study.
Participants: Sixty-two nurses were observed administering oral medicines to 625 patients.
Interventions: Data were collected on the preparation and administration of oral medicines. Thirty-five cases of error were selected and analysed for their severity.
Results: In the 65 drug rounds observed 2129 potential drug administrations were made to 625 patients, of which 817 doses (38.4%) were given incorrectly (95% CI = 36.3-40.4). The overall mean harm score of the 35 incidents analysed was 4.1 (range 1.1-8.6, SD 1.8) on a scale of 0-10.
Conclusions: The number and severity of MAEs observed is high compared with previous studies.
Relevance to clinical practice: There is a need to decrease the number and severity of MAEs, by increasing nurse awareness and error reporting.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.