While visiting a healthcare practice for a patient safety initiative, the MagMutual risk and patient consultants were given a tour of the facility with the office manager and a medical assistant. At one point the consultant asked to see the storage for sharps and medications. The office manager advised, “all medications are stored in the treatment and exam rooms with the syringes and needles”.
Upon further investigation numerous multidose vials of pain medications were found stored in unlocked cabinets in all of the treatment and exam rooms. The top cabinet drawer in each room was filled with syringes and needles in various sizes. According to the staff, “equipment is kept in the treatment and exam rooms for the convenience of the providers.”
The storage of theses vials, syringes, and needles was immediately identified as an issue. The healthcare practice cares for a large chronic pain management population making medication storage a sensitive issue. By storing these items in patient rooms, they were at risk for patient pilfering.
The consultant made a strong recommendation to remove the injectable medications, syringes, and needles from all of the patient treatment and exam rooms. The consultant also suggested utilizing a hand-held caddy for all supplies needed to administer medications, which should also be stored in an area that is inaccessible to patients.
The office manager took the recommendations seriously and advised the consultant that all medications, syringes and needles would be removed from the treatment and exam rooms as soon as possible.
As a member of the National Patient Safety Foundation Patient Safety Coalition, MagMutual is an active participant in Patient Safety Awareness Week. Find out more.
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