Medication Safety

You can help prevent errors by knowing all your medications. Make a list of your medications and bring it each time you see a doctor or nurse. Your medication list should include:

  • Names of all your medications, including over the counter and herbal remedies.
  • How much you take of each medication
  • When you take each medication
  • The form of each medication, such as pill, patch or liquid.

Also, be sure to communicate any medication/food allergies or intolerances you may have.

Don’t bring medications from home:

  • They may not meet the normal quality standards we use to ensure safety and potency.
  • You may end up paying twice—once for medicines you purchased at your local pharmacy, and a second time for your insurance premium to cover inpatient medications.
  • You can bring multiple-use items, such as eye drops, inhalers, creams, ointments or items not stocked in our pharmacy.

If you are not receiving a medication you take at home, tell your nurse or doctor so it can be ordered for you.

Partner with Cottage for Your Medication Safety

Medication errors are among the most common types of medical mistakes and can lead to serious complications, admission to the hospital or even death.

The good news is that patients and family can help prevent these mistakes. Many medication errors occur at transition points, such as when patients enter the hospital, move from one room to another or leave the hospital to go home. Your medication list is an important tool to prevent mistakes.

  • Keep close track of your medications
    • Ask your doctor or nurse if your list includes all the medications you take now.
    • Adjust your list each time you start or stop taking a medication.
    • Ask a pharmacist to review your list.
    • Make sure your medications do not interact with each other. Ask your pharmacist for help if you aren't sure.
    • Check websites, like, that explain which medications should not be mixed.
    • Try to use the same pharmacy for all your prescriptions and refills, so your pharmacist can make sure you’re not mixing the wrong medicines.
    • Throw away all medications you no longer take.
    • Using your medication list
  • Bring your list each time you go to the hospital, emergency room or clinic.
  • If you are too sick to do so yourself, ask a family member to show the list to your doctors and nurses.
  • Make sure your family has your doctor's name and phone number so they can tell the hospital staff what medications you take.
  • When you leave the hospital, talk with the doctor or nurse about the medications you will take at home. Ask for specific instructions about when and how to take each medication, and why you need to take them.

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