“Know, Check, Ask” campaign by the HSE

“Know, Check, Ask” – new HSE campaign to improve people’s awareness and keep track of their medicines.

The HSE has launched a campaign and a tool for the public to help improve the safe use of medicines. It will help people who take medicines and everyone involved in their care to make better decisions about their treatment.

Muriel Pate, Medication Safety Specialist Pharmacist with the HSE commented “Sooner or later everyone needs medication and often people can be on a number of medicines for different health conditions. Keeping track of all of these medications can be confusing and so the HSE has developed a ‘My Medicines List’ which is available to download at www.safermeds.ie and is also available in all pharmacies around the country. People can of course, create their own list instead or ask their pharmacy or GP practice to print a list of medicines from their records. Some people find it useful to take a photo of their list and keep it on their phone.”

Communication can be a big safety challenge in healthcare. Communication about medicines can be tricky as there can be so many details to remember. Using a medicines list will be a huge help, especially when people are admitted to hospital or have an appointment. Using a list will help them to communicate with healthcare professionals quickly and easily. We engaged with a lot of different people and groups when we were developing the campaign. They told us that using a medicines list can really help people, families, carers and healthcare professionals understand and communicate better and improve patient safety and health,” Muriel continued.

The campaign urges those who regularly take medicines, and those assisting them to:
Know your medicines and keep a list
Check that you are using the right medicine the right way
Ask your healthcare professional if you’re unsure

Welcoming the campaign, Haven Pharmacist Justin Looby says “Know, Check, Ask” is a very important part of our overall health and wellbeing. Everyone must check that they are using their medication in the right way and if they are in any way unsure they should ask their local Pharmacist who will help them to quickly and easily remember and share information about the medicines they are taking and making it easier to check and discuss any concerns they may have.

Haven Pharmacist Justin Looby pictured with Gordon Ryan, a recipient of a double lung transplant

Gordon said that the Know, Check, Ask campaign and the My Medicines List would be of great benefit in his daily life. “Because of the transplant I take various medicines on a daily basis and see my doctor regularly. It’s great to have such a simple tool to help me manage my medication and it will be really useful for any of the doctors that I need to see as they will be able to instantly see what medicines I’m taking and be able to check and update my treatments as needed,” he said.

Remember, always speak to your local Haven Pharmacist about your medication and don’t be afraid to ask questions:
– What is the name of my medication?
– Do I still need this medication?
– What does my medication do?
– For how long should I take this medication?
– How & when should I take my medication?
– What food, drinks, activities should I avoid while taking this medication?
– What are the side effects of my medication?
– How can I avoid the side effects of this medication?
– What should I do if I miss a dose of my medication?
– How can I organise my medication?

The HSE campaign forms part of the World Health Organisation ‘Medication Without Harm’ global patient safety campaign which aims to reduce severe avoidable medication related harm by 50% over the next five years.

Visit www.safermeds.ie for more information or click on the link to download the My Medicines List leaflet