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Evaluation to improve the quality of medication preparation and administration in pediatric and adult intensive care units

Authors Hermanspann T, van der Linden E, Schoberer M, Fitzner C, Orlikowsky T, Marx G, Eisert A

Received 20 August 2018

Accepted for publication 24 December 2018

Published 19 March 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 11—18

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DHPS.S184479

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Siew-Siang Chua


Theresa Hermanspann,1,2 Eva van der Linden,2 Mark Schoberer,2 Christina Fitzner,3,4 Thorsten Orlikowsky,2 Gernot Marx,5 Albrecht Eisert1,6

1Hospital Pharmacy, RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Aachen, Germany; 2Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Section of Neonatology, RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Aachen, Germany; 3Department of Medical Statistics, Medical Faculty RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany; 4Department of Anaesthesiology, RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Aachen, Germany; 5Department of Intensive Care Medicine, RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Aachen, Germany; 6Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical Faculty RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Purpose: To determine the type, frequency, and factors associated with medication preparation and administration errors in adult intensive care units (ICUs) and neonatal ICUs (NICUs)/pediatric ICUs (PICUs).
Patients and methods: We conducted a prospective direct observation study in an adult ICU and NICU/PICU in a tertiary university hospital. Between June 2012 and June 2013, a clinical pharmacist and medical student observed the nursing care staff on weekdays during the preparation and administration of intravenous drugs. We analyzed the frequency and type of preparation and administration errors and factors associated with errors.
Results: Six hundred and three preparations in the adult ICU and 281 in the NICU/PICU were observed. Three hundred and eighty-five errors occurred in the adult ICU and 38 in the NICU/PICU. There were 5,040 and 2,514 error opportunities, with overall error rates of 7.6% and 1.5%, respectively. The total opportunities for error meant each single step of preparation and administration that was relevant for the drug. Most errors applied to the category “uniform mixing” (adult ICU: n=227, 59%; NICU/PICU: n=14, 37%). The multivariate logistic regression results showed a significantly different influence of the “preparation type” for the adult ICU compared with the NICU/PICU with regard to the occurrence of an error. Preparations for adult patients of the LCD type (liquid concentrate with diluent into syringe or infusion bag) were more often associated with errors than the P (powder in a glass vial that must be reconstituted and diluted if necessary), P=0.012, and LC (liquid concentrate into syringe), P=0.002 type.
Conclusion: “Uniform mixing” was the most erroneous preparation step in intravenous drug preparations in two ICUs. Improvement of nurse training and the preparation of prefilled syringes in the pharmacy might reduce errors and improve the quality and safety of drug therapy.

Keywords: intravenous medication, medication errors, medication safety, patient safety, quality improvement

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