Text-Only Version

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Safety Point: The Five Rights of Medication Safety

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Medicine can help us in many ways, but it can also be very dangerous.
  • To stay safe and healthy, it is important to understand the RIGHT way to take your medicine.
  • The Five Rights of Medication Safety are five important questions that you can ask yourself every time you take your medicine.
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Question 1: Am I the RIGHT person to take this medicine?
  • Ask yourself if the medicine you are about to take belongs to you.
  • Medicine can affect people differently, so you should not take medicine that belongs to someone else.
  • If your doctor prescribed the medicine for you, the package or bottle should have your name on it.
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Question 2: Is this the RIGHT medicine for me to take?
  • Ask yourself if the medicine you are about to take is supposed
    • to help you feel better, or
    • to treat your health condition.
  • Understanding why you take different medicines will help you to make sure you are taking the right one.
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Question 3: Am I taking the RIGHT amount of medicine?
  • All medications come with directions on the bottle or package.
  • These directions will tell you how much of the medicine you should take (for example, whether to take one pill or two).
  • It is important to take the right amount of medicine - if you take too much, or too little, you could get very sick.
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Question 4: Am I taking the medicine at the RIGHT time?
  • The directions that come with your medicine will tell you:
    • How often to take the medicine (for example, once a day, or every 3 hours)
    • If the medicine needs to be taken at a special time, such as with a meal or right before bedtime
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Question 5: Am I taking the medicine in the RIGHT way?
  • Medicines can be taken in different ways:
    • In your mouth
    • In your nose or eyes
    • Rubbed on your skin
    • Injected with a needle
  • The directions that come with your medicine can tell you how to take your medicine in the right way.
    • Your doctor or pharmacist can also help you.
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Know your Rights!
Remembering the Five Rights can help you prevent medication errors, and stay safe and healthy!

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