Background and aims Often it is found that preoperative patients have had their regular medication inappropriately held and/or inappropriately given prior to presenting for surgery. On occasion this can lead to delay or cancellation of procedures, consequently, adding to growing waiting lists and expense on health services. In an original audit of preoperative medication administering it was found that as few as 50% of patients were receiving their medication correctly. Therefore, we aimed to create an easy to follow Traffic Light System of guidelines to help nursing staff and junior doctors with preoperative medication management.
Methods These new guidelines were compiled using the latest peer reviewed literature, medication guidelines and expert opinion. The new system was introduced to and trialled on the surgical wards for 2 weeks prior to the re-audit of 30 patients in the preoperative holding bay.
Results Our results show that after introduction of the Traffic Light Guidelines 76% of patients had Green Light medication given appropriately preoperatively. This result is much improved from the original audit, which was prior to the introduction of the Traffic Light System, where only 50% of patients had received their medication appropriately preoperatively. Furthermore, our results show that 92% of patients had Red Light medication held appropriately. Finally, aspirin, which is the only Yellow Light drug in our guidelines, is a regular drug in 33% of our surgical patients; however, aspirin was held preoperatively in 100% of patients.
Conclusions In summary, our results show that the introduction of the Traffic Light System greatly improved preoperative medication administering.
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