A new study titled “Evaluation of Medication Errors at the Transition of Care from an ICU to a Non-ICU Location,” and published in Critical Care Medicine, shows that almost 50% of patients transferred from the intensive care unit (ICU) to a non-ICU location experience a medication error at the time of transition of care, according to new data. While the majority of these medication errors did, in fact, impact the patients, they tended not to cause significant harm, although the study authors noted that strategies to mitigate these errors should still be implemented. The causes of these errors were multi-factored and varied.
The study examined 985 adult patients from 58 ICUs that were transferred within the same institution to a non-ICU location. The findings revealed that 45.7% of patients experienced a medication error during their transfer. The three most common types of errors were: a continuation of medication, with an ICU-only indication at 28%; an indication with no pharmacotherapy at 19%; and pharmacotherapy with no indication at 12%. The highest odds of an error occurring were associated with anti-infective hematologic agents, and intravenous fluids, electrolytes or diuretics.
In total, 94% of the errors were severity category C, meaning that they reached the patient but did not cause harm. The biggest factors that were related to medication errors occurring were the number of medication orders and the need for renal replacement therapy. According to the authors, factors associated with decreased odds of error occurrence included daily patient care rounds in the ICU and orders being discontinued and rewritten at the time of transfer from the ICU.
If you or a loved one of yours has been injured or died as a result of a medication error, it is critical that you do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the expert Boston medication error accident lawyers here at the Law Offices of Gilbert R. Hoy, Jr. and Affiliates. We can be reached 24/7 by phone at 617-787-3700 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact us today for your free and confidential consultation. Your needs are our top priority!