Improving resident safety across a care home group
Medication management within care homes is usually a complex and critical task for care home staff as it plays a vital role in their residents' health and safety. Medication errors can often lead to severe consequences for residents, including hospitalisation and adverse events, all of which can be avoided. In order to prevent medication errors and ensure resident safety, care homes need to adopt the right technologies, like an eMAR medication system designed to support good medication practices and management.
An eMAR medication system, also known as an Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR), is a digital platform that stores and manages medication administration records in care homes. It provides care home staff with real-time information on medication orders, dosage, and administration schedules. One of an eMAR medication system's main functionalities is preventing medication errors in care homes.
Below are some of the ways in which using an eMAR medication system can help to reduce the risk of medication errors:
- Improved accuracy in administering medication
One of the main causes of medication errors in care homes is incorrect administration of medication. The wrong medication, dosage or route of administration can have serious consequences for residents. An eMAR medication system enables care home staff to scan medication labels using a barcode scanning feature to ensure that the right medication is given to the right resident at the right time. The system's automatic safety checks can flag potential issues, such as missing doses, medication interactions, and incorrect doses. By providing real-time information and safety checks, an eMAR medication system ensures the accuracy of medication administration, which helps to reduce the risk of medication errors.
An example of this is Person Centred Software’s ATLAS eMAR system, where its handheld device, used by care staff, shows the specific medications that should be administered to the right residents at the right time. All staff would have to do is pick up the medication packet and scan the pharmacy label using the barcode scanning feature. ATLAS eMAR’s handheld device will run safety checks (medication, dose, timing, recipient) and flag any potential issues to staff before administering the medication to the resident.
- Enhanced transparency in medication management
An eMAR medication system provides a centralised dashboard that displays all medication-related information, including medication orders, administration records, and inventory levels within the care home. This feature offers staff complete transparency into their care home’s medication management, enabling them to identify any issues that need to be addressed, such as missed doses, medication errors, and inventory discrepancies, and take immediate action to rectify them. This feature also enables care home managers to monitor staff performance and compliance with medication management policies and regulations, ensuring that quality standards are implemented consistently across the care home.
In ATLAS eMAR, every medication transaction in the care home can be logged, along with unique staff codes, so a full audit trail is available on the centralised dashboard; this gives care home managers complete oversight of everything. Additionally, the information can be used to evidence quality standards to regulators and carry out internal investigations if needed. Furthermore, the reports available from the centralised dashboard give managers the ability to identify staff training needs and areas of practice that need to be addressed. Senior management can also be alerted to care homes falling short of expected standards and take appropriate action. It is also worth noting that managers can request a full independent audit of their care home’s medicine management, which can often be used as evidence to support their own CQC self-submissions.
- Improved communication between healthcare professionals
An eMAR medication system improves communication between care home staff and pharmacists, enabling a more efficient reordering of medication. It allows care home staff to order residents’ medication digitally and directly to their pharmacy of choice. This feature ultimately improves the transparency of the medication prescribing process, saving a lot of time and reducing errors associated with handwritten prescriptions, improving residents’ safety.
Pharmacies connected to Person Centred Software’s ATLAS eMAR system follow a strict process for dispensing medication. Each prescription is scanned into an image that can be viewed on the centralised dashboard. Each medication item is barcode-validated to ensure it is correctly dispensed, and every label is issued with a barcode so it can be scanned on ATLAS hand-held device.
- Increased efficiency in medication management
An eMAR medication system offers a range of tools specially designed to improve the efficiency of medication management in care homes. For example, a stock control feature enables care homes to manage medication inventory more efficiently, ensuring medications are available when needed and preventing medication errors due to stockouts or expiration.
Balancing medicine stock levels is fundamental to good medicine management and plays a key part in the overall quality of service provided to residents in care homes. ATLAS eMAR helps manage stock levels to avoid any overstocking whilst ensuring that medications don't run out. Additionally, to help care home providers maximise their effectiveness with their stock control, Person Centred Software runs regular webinars for care home managers to support them with this.
Medication errors pose a significant risk to residents in care homes, and care homes must take proactive measures to reduce any potential medication risk by utilising an eMAR medication system.
At Person Centred Software, we believe that using an eMAR medication system in a care home reduces the risk of medication errors, improves resident outcomes, enhances the quality of care provided, improves how a medication is managed and frees up more time for staff to care and connect meaningfully with residents.
Get answers to the most popular medication accuracy questions from our eMAR specialist Martin Wall:
In this video you will learn:
0.12: What does medication accuracy mean
0.26: How important is medication accuracy and precision in care homes and why?
0.51: What are the three most common medication errors?
1.30: How does ATLAS eMAR help with these errors?
3.05: What are the protocols or procedures a care setting can put into place to ensure medication accuracy?
4.09: Why is medication accuracy important in the care home?
4.44: How does ATLAS eMAR help with the level of care being provided?
Book a demo with our friendly team today to learn more about how our ATLAS eMAR system can help reduce medication errors in your care home.