Towards improved communication for medication safety: addressing the complexities managing medications in hospitalised children
Summary of project
This study examines how children, family members and health professionals communicate about the management of medications in hospital. Using diverse methods for data collection, this study will explore how individuals make decisions about medications in actual practice, what knowledge and practices they use in communication, what difficulties they encounter, and what strategies they adopt for effective communication. Comprehensive insights into these issues will inform policies and programs directed at promoting and maintaining good communication for optimal medication management. Improved communication also has enormous potential to reduce medication problems and facilitate engagement with family members, and where possible, with children.
Aims of the project
- To determine sociocultural and environmental influences that shape communication processes among health professionals, and between health professionals, children and family members about how medications are managed in hospitalised children.
- To examine how medication incidents link with actual communication processes.
- To determine strategies identified by children, family members and health professionals as opportunities for improving communication about how medications are managed in hospitalised children.
- To develop quality practice recommendations to promote and maintain safe care and child engagement about managing medications.
Phases of project
This ethnographic study, which concerns how children, family members and health professionals interact with each other in the hospital context, will be conducted in three phases. Phase one involves a clinical audit of hospitalised children's medication incidents reported to an online documentation facility located at two Australian metropolitan hospitals. Phase two involves the conduct of in-depth individual interviews with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, hospitalised children and family members about how medications are managed for children during their hospitalisation. Phase three involves the conduct of observations with health professionals in how they interact with each other and with hospitalised children and family members about how medications are managed for children.
Australian Research Council, Discovery Project Grant (2013-2016)
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