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Be aware of PPE communication constraints, warns AIMp

AIMp warned pharmacy teams to take extra caution when wearing PPE
AIMp warned pharmacy teams to take extra caution when wearing PPE

Some pharmacy teams have reported an increase in patient safety incidents as a result of staff wearing PPE making communication harder, AIMp CEO Leyla Hannbeck has said.

An increase in patient safety incidents “due to wearing PPE” has been reported by some pharmacy teams, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) CEO Ms Hannbeck flagged in a tweet last week (July 6)

While AIMp does not have exact figures, these incidents “have been brought to my attention from across the sector over the past few weeks”, Ms Hannbeck told C+D last week (July 7).

However, while urging pharmacy teams to take care, she stressed that this “should not discourage pharmacy teams from wearing PPE”.

The two most common errors were the “the wrong medicine handed out to the wrong patient due to patient or staff not hearing the address clearly due to PPE face masks”, and the “wrong patient repeat slip left in the wrong bag due to staff becoming hot [or] flustered by wearing PPE or [their] vision [being] impaired by eye shields”, she said.

Pharmacy team members “highlighted communication challenges when wearing PPE as being the reason for why the incidents happened”, Ms Hannbeck said.

“Pharmacy teams need to protect themselves. This is to raise awareness to ensure pharmacy teams are aware that communication could be affected and that they bear this in mind and take extra care, particularly when handing out medicines to patients,” Ms Hannbeck explained.

Chair of the cross-sector Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group Janice Perkins told C+D last week (July 9) that the group “has not seen an increase in incidents linked to the wearing of PPE”.

However, pharmacy teams “adapting to wearing PPE and the additional challenges it creates has been crucial” during the pandemic, Ms Perkins said.

“The Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group continues to carefully monitor all aspects of patient safety during the pandemic, including the delivery of medicines and the safe use of consultation rooms and has issued guidance in these areas,” she added.

3 Comments
Question: 
Have you found that wearing PPE makes it more difficult to communicate?

Shenu Barclay, Community pharmacist

I THINK THE PROBLEM IS NOT ONLY RELATED TO DISRUPTION OF VOICE,THE MASKS ALSO LEAD TO INCREASED SWEATING AND IF YOU WEAR GLASSES IT IS DIFFICULT TO SITE THE MASKS PROPERLY TO COVER THE NOSE,ETC.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Simple solution, use a Voice-to-Text app on your phone, then everything you say it also written out. I'm available all week!

Emma Harrison, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

The doctors have drawn attention to this issue too. 

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