Monday, December 15, 2008

Medication Safety Posters

We are moving forward. Approximately 10 more people have learned about medication safety and best practices for safe quality care. The first year students of Farmingdale College Graphics Design Class created some great medication safety posters incorporating the concept of low literacy. The posters covered look-a-like, sound-a-like medication, checking 2 forms of ID when hospitalized and the proper measuring devices for dispensing liquid medication.

I went 3 times to the class. The first was to do a presentation about medication errors, drop off literature and let the students know some statistics. I left them with websites and additional information. The teacher explained how they needed to do the artwork.

I came back a few weeks later and reviewed and critiqued their work. Could I "sell" the subject? Did they "get it" through their drawings and their art work? Were they relaying the message? If not, they needed to try again. A final look was to see if they had any touch ups that needed to be done. Were they straying from the point? Was their work understandable? Did they have the facts right? Was it too wordy?

These posters could easily be used at the local pharmacy or in the doctor’s office describing inhalers that look alike but are used differently. The young woman who designed a poster about inhalers that look a like took out of her own pocket a red inhaler that is not marked or labeled for proper use. I was surprise myself because the inhalers I have seen are blue, purple or white. I have never seen a red inhaler so really would not know what it’s use would be! It wouldn’t hurt the manufacturers to get together and develop uniform designs so we can at least recognize the colors.

We had a visitor from the state patient safety center, North Shore LIJ Health System and the student nurses came in to view the posters and reaffirm the need for patients to participate in their care for safety. They agreed it is a culture change but a poster over every bed suggesting the medical team should be checking 2 forms of ID on the drawing of an arm band was something they all agreed may actually reduce medication errors. Seems like a “no brainer” to me!

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