Your medicines (video transcript)
Managing your medications safely at home and in hospital is vital for your health. It needn't be difficult, but mistakes can happen when medicines are prescribed, given, or taken incorrectly. It's important that you know what medicines you take and why you take them.
Managing your medicines safely in hospital means speaking up about your medicines, asking questions if you are unsure about your medicines, finding out about what your medicines are for, discussing options with your doctor and making sure you understand how to take your medicines.
really important that you keep track of your medications. Medicines are usually prescribed by a doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist. They can be bought at your local pharmacy, supermarket, or health food store and include complementary medicines like vitamins and nutritional supplements, and natural or herbal remedies.
When you are admitted to hospital you should advise hospital staff of all your medicines by bringing all of your medicines with you. Also bring a list of every medication you're currently taking and show them to your doctor and pharmacist. Your GP or community pharmacist can help. Your hospital doctor and pharmacist will particularly need to know about any recent changes to your
medications, including any medicines you have recently started taking, medicines you have recently stopped taking and changes in how much, or how often you use the medicine. Your doctor and pharmacist will also need to know if you've had any problems with medicines in the past. This might be an allergic or bad reaction to a medicine or difficulty swallowing medicines.
Your medications may change while you are in hospital. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain why you are being given particular medications, their possible side-effects and whether they can be taken safely with your other medications. Tell staff straight away if you are feeling unwell after taking any medicine.
Make sure that staff have checked your wrist band identification before you are given any medications to ensure the medicines are prescribed for you. If you think you should have received some medications, or the medications appear different, ask.
When you're ready to go home, have the doctor, nurse or pharmacist go over each medication with you or a family member or friend. Ensure your own medicines are returned to you if you still need them. Before you leave, ask your pharmacist if you should stop or restart any medicines you were taking at home. If you have received new medicines, or a dose has changed for a medicine you were previously taking, make sure you receive a new prescription or supply to take home. Unless you have been given other instructions by your health professional in hospital, make an appointment to see your GP within two weeks of going home to discuss your ongoing medicine needs.
Taking your medicines at the right time and at the right dose is essential. If you have trouble keeping track of your medicines, there are aids that can help, like a dosette box.
Ask your pharmacist for advice. Health professionals are available in hospital and in the community to help you manage your medicines safely.
While you're in hospital, your doctor, pharmacist and nurse are all available to help you.
When you get home, you can call on your GP, or local doctor, your community pharmacist, a nurse practitioner or family members or carers. You can consider all these people part of your support network to help you keep track of your medicines.
If you need further assistance at any time, you can visit the NPS medicines website for reliable information about medicines in Australia.
Quality Improvement and Change Management Unit
This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.