Medication safety in the operating room: teaming up to improve patient safety

Merali R, Orser BA, Leeksma A, Lingard S, Belo S, Hyland S. (2008) Healthc Q. 11(3 Spec No.):54-7.


A medication safety project for operating rooms (ORs) was initiated under the leadership of the Departments of Anesthesia and Nursing with a representative from the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada. The aims of the collaborative project were twofold: (1) to identify areas of exposure to risk and make recommendations to enhance medication safety within the hospital and (2) to inform the development of a medication safety checklist specific to the OR setting. The strategies developed and implemented during this project were aimed at reducing the risk of injury induced by medications. Attempts were made to use feasible best practices and managerial support systems for defined areas – in this case, medication-use systems for the ORs and associated patient care areas. The learning from this project will also inform the development of a medication safety checklist for use by other hospitals and OR settings.

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