Canadian Patient Safety Week 2008

    Knowledge is the Best Medicine. Ask. Talk. Listen

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Medication errors are said to affect at least
1.5 million Canadians per year. According to the Canadian Institute for Health
Information (CIHI), one in ten patients receive the wrong medication, or the
wrong dose while in hospital. To raise awareness of patient safety issues, and
to highlight the important initiatives and innovations related to medication
reconciliation happening across the country, the Canadian Patient Safety
Institute today launched its fourth annual Canadian Patient Safety Week
    Set to take place from September 29 to October 4, CPSW 2008 will see
hundreds of healthcare organizations and frontline professionals promoting and
sharing information about medication reconciliation within their organizations
and communities. Patients and their families will be encouraged to become
involved in their own healthcare by knowing their medications, keeping records
of them, and sharing accurate medication information with all of their
healthcare providers.
    "The theme of the fourth annual national campaign - Knowledge is the Best
Medicine. Ask. Talk. Listen. - will focus on sharing safety advancements with
healthcare providers, patients and their families," states Phil Hassen, CEO of
the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. "The week will encourage patients to
become involved by speaking up and asking more questions, communicating with
healthcare providers, and understanding the important role they play in
providing accurate information about their current medications."
    "Patients are key partners with healthcare professionals to ensure
medications are used safely and appropriately," says Hassen. "One of the most
important actions patients can do to get the best care possible is to keep an
updated list of their medications (both prescription and non-prescription
drugs) and to always take this list with them when they visit a healthcare
provider. If a patient is unable to keep this list updated, having an
advocate, such as a family member be aware of the medications they are taking
and keeping an updated list for them is essential."
    Another of CPSI's initiatives, Safer Healthcare Now!, has over
1,000 healthcare teams representing more than 270 healthcare organizations,
participating in one or more of ten targeted interventions to reduce the
number of deaths and injuries related to preventable adverse events. This
quality improvement initiative has engaged over 350 healthcare teams across
Canada in medication reconciliation interventions to reduce adverse events in
acute and long-term care facilities. A pilot project is also being launched in
home care settings in conjunction with CPSW. The goal is to build awareness
around the frequency of adverse drug events within home care settings and to
increase the home care teams responsiveness and involvement in the pilot.
    "British Columbia is working hard to reduce preventable medication errors
with a number of medication reconciliation initiatives across the province,
including the outstanding examples set at St. Paul's Hospital and residential
care facilities run by Providence Health Care," said George Abbott, B.C.
Minister of Health Services. "Increasing the awareness of medication safety is
helping us deliver high-quality, safe patient care."
    Medication reconciliation begins with creating a complete and accurate
list (Best Possible Medication History - BMPH) of medications that patients
are currently taking and comparing the list to medication orders at transition
points (admission, transfer and discharge), in order to ensure that all
changes are intentional and communicated effectively.
    "We hope that CPSW will increase awareness of and involvement in
medication reconciliation," says Marg Colquhoun of the Institute for Safe
Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada). "Safer Healthcare Now! and Canadian
Patient Safety Week provides people with tools they can use to improve safety
at transition points in patient care."
    "Regrettably, errors do happen," adds Hassen. "Our goal is to learn from
past adverse events in order to prevent them in the future. Our Canadian
healthcare professionals are among the best educated and dedicated in the
world. The problem principally lies with processes and systems that need to be
improved. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute, through initiatives such as
Canadian Patient Safety Week, want to raise the awareness about the challenges
facing the healthcare system, and educate the patient on how they can actively
participate in ensuring a positive experience by being knowledgeable about
their own medication usage, and sharing that information with their
    As part of CPSW 2008, CPSI, in partnership with Canada's Research-Based
Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) and the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of
Canada (HIROC), has developed public service announcements for radio broadcast
that will air across the country. Several provinces have also signed on to
purchase airtime for the PSA.
    "Knowledge is the key to better health and we are proud to work with the
Canadian Patient Safety Institute as well as health care professionals and all
our partners to promote healthy living and the safe and appropriate use of
medicines," said Russell Williams, President of Canada's Research-Based
Pharmaceutical Companies.
    "HIROC's continued support for CPSW reflects the growing groundswell of
support and participation across all levels and organizations," adds
Communications and Marketing Manager of HIROC, Anthony Fuchs. "When one
considers that our vision is Partnering to Create the Safest Healthcare
System, it simply made good sense to support this unique and worthwhile
    For further information, visit the CPSW website at For information on the Safer Healthcare Now!
medication reconciliation intervention, visit

For further information:

For further information: Kelly Bowman, Communications Officer, Canadian
Patient Safety Institute, Cell: (780) 288-3847, Toll Free: 1-866-421-6933,

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