The Women's and Children's Health Network commits to ensuring that medicines are safely prescribed and used, and that consumers and carers are informed about medicines and their risks.
Medication safety is one of the 8 National Safety and Quality Standards for hospitals. It was named as Australia’s 10th National Health Priority by the Australian Health Minister, Dr Greg Hunt, in November 2019.
The Women's and Children's Health Network (WCHN) Medication Safety Committee, together with the divisions of the WCHN, work to ensure that clinicians safely prescribe, dispense and administer appropriate medicines, and monitor medicine use.
WCHN also aims to ensure that consumers and carers are informed about medicines, and understand their own medicine needs and risks.
Understanding your and your child’s medicines will help you make better decisions, and ensure that you and your child get the most benefit from prescribed medicines, safely.
Do you know...
- what medicines you or your child are taking?
- why you or your child are taking them?
- how you or your child can take your medicines safely?
You are encouraged to bring your/your child’s regular medicines, vitamins or herbal preparations into hospital for the doctor and the ward pharmacist to review.
If it is possible, we ask that you organise for someone to take any medicines home after the doctor and the ward pharmacist have discussed them with you.
Most medicines you or your child need to take in hospital will be supplied by the hospital pharmacy. There may be some occasions when the pharmacy does not stock the medicine and we will need to use your own supply while in hospital. If your own medicine supply is used or you are unable to take your medicines home, they will be stored in the ward’s locked drug room away from other children/patients. Your own medicines will be returned to you on discharge. Nursing/midwifery staff will discuss this with you.
For more information you can download the following fact sheet:
Before giving you or your child any medicine in hospital, the nurse, midwife or doctor will ask about your or your child’s:
- First and last name
- Date of birth (and check your identification bracelet)
If your identification or allergies are not checked, please tell the nurse/midwife or doctor your full name and any allergies you or your child has before any medicine is taken.
If you would like to give your child’s regular medicines that have been prescribed by the doctor while in hospital, you are welcome to do so. Please discuss with the nursing/midwifery staff caring for your child.
As all medicines are stored in a locked area out of reach of other children, the nursing/midwifery staff will prepare your child’s medicines for you to give to them.
We encourage you to ask questions of your care team if you do not know the name of a medicine you are being given or what it is for. You should also check to see if the dose being given in hospital is the same as the dose prescribed by your own doctor – sometimes this might change.
Please always ask nursing/midwifery staff about anything you do not understand or are concerned about your or your child’s medicines.
It may be helpful to regularly go to the same community pharmacy, so that you can build and maintain a relationship with both the pharmacist and staff – This will help you to feel confident in talking with them about your child and family’s health issues. You also need to be able to trust their knowledge and their respect for your confidentiality.
- If your child is on regular medication(s), make sure you find out if it will be readily available at your chosen community pharmacy. If not, ask the pharmacy to keep it in stock so that it is available for you when you need it
- Make sure you understand everything you need to about new medication(s) and ask questions when you are unclear. Many medicines have a specific Consumer Medicines Information pamphlet which you can ask your pharmacist to supply
- Find out if your pharmacy offers a delivery service and use it to save yourself time
- Some ‘over the counter medications’ can be prescribed by your doctor so that you can obtain them at the reduced rate with a Health Care Card e.g. some laxatives, paracetamol, creams etc.
- If your child needs medication urgently, it may be possible to have your child’s prescription faxed to your chosen pharmacy, and the original posted to them
- If your child is on multiple medications it may be useful to ask your pharmacist about administration aids such as a ‘dosette’.
- Track your and/or your child's medicines by keeping an up-to-date list of everything you or your child is taking in a notebook, in the notes on your mobile phone, or using an app like the NPS MedicineWise App.
For more information about managing your medicines or medication safety:
- speak to our Medication Safety Consultant or contact the SA Pharmacy Medicines Information Service on (08) 8161 7555 (9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday)
- speak to your doctor, nurse/midwife or pharmacist – we are here to help you!
- NPS MedicineWise has a wide range of resources to help individuals, community groups and health services to promote being 'medicinewise'. For more information, go to: NPS MedicineWise – Being MedicineWise
- Use the Choosing Wisely initiative to support your conversations about your medicines.
Antibiotics are a type of medicine used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Most colds and flus are caused by viruses. Antibiotics will not help fight a virus.
If antibiotics are used when they are not needed or for longer than needed, the antibiotic may stop working – this is called antibiotic resistance.
It is important that everyone helps fight against antimicrobial resistance.
What you can do to help?
- Always take your antibiotics at the right time and for as long as your doctor has instructed.
- Don't keep any unused antibiotics for another time – return leftover medicines to your pharmacy for disposal
- Don't share antibiotics with other people – they may have a different infection.
- If you have a common cold or flu don't ask your doctor for antibiotics.
- Always discuss with your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if you have any questions about your antibiotic.
Along with your family and friends, take a pledge to fight antimicrobial resistance
- Talk to your doctor, nurse / midwife or pharmacist for advice about the medicines you or your child are taking.
Resources for antimicrobial awareness
- NPS MedicineWise – World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020
- A short video on the causes and concerns of antimicrobial resistance
– Professor John Turnidge, Senior Medical Adviser at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
- SA Health – Antimicrobial Awareness Week
- SA Health – video with one of our pharmacists about Antimicrobial Awareness Week