Campaign encourages questions over new medication

Portia Ndebele, nurse practitioner, Ada Pascua, staff nurse, and Mohamed Idris, doctor, promote the 'keep calm and ask' campaign to encourage patients and their families to ask questions about medicines. Picture by Gavin Duthie.
Portia Ndebele, nurse practitioner, Ada Pascua, staff nurse, and Mohamed Idris, doctor, promote the 'keep calm and ask' campaign to encourage patients and their families to ask questions about medicines. Picture by Gavin Duthie.

A new campaign is encouraging patients in hospital to ask questions of any new medication they are given before they leave.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘Keep calm and ask’ campaign encourages patients and their families to ask any questions they may have.

The campaign, rolled out across the trust’s hospitals including the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, follows feedback from patients that they are sometimes unclear and confused about new medication they have been given whilst in hospital.

Posters about the campaign are to be displayed next to patients’ bedsides, in ward areas and in waiting areas with postcard-sized booklets also handed to patients.

Rosemary Stephenson, director of nursing at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We continually listen to feedback from patients about their experiences in our hospitals so we can improve the care we provide and people have told us that they sometimes feel unsure about new medication they have been given in hospital.

“We fully understand that patients are often given a lot of information while they’re in hospital and our ‘keep calm and ask’ campaign is all about urging patients to talk to our teams before they leave.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be the patient who asks the question. Relatives or carers are welcome to ask any one of our clinical staff – whether that’s a nurse, a doctor or other member of the team – they are more than happy to answer any queries.”

David Campbell, chief pharmacist at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Medication plays a vital role in helping our patients to get better sooner and it’s absolutely essential that they understand the medicines they are taking and how best to take them.

“This is particularly important if patients are being started on new medicines in hospital that they will continue to take when they go home.

“This is to understand the purpose of any new medicines, are aware of any side effects to watch out for and what to do if they experience those, and how to safely take the new medicines.”

Mr Campbell also reminded patients to bring in the medications they are taking when they are admitted to hospital to enable staff to have a clear record.

“It would really help us if patients brought with them all the medications they are taking when they come into hospital along with their repeat prescription sheet from their GP to help us build up a clear picture of the medication patients are taking,” he said.

For information about the campaign, visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk