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ISMP Canada News

May 14, 2019: Lack of Standardized Documentation Contributes to a Mix-up between Methadone and Buprenorphine-Naloxone

Opioid use disorder is one of the most challenging forms of addiction facing the Canadian healthcare system; almost 4000 Canadians lost their lives to an opioid-related overdose in 2017. The ability to treat opioid use disorder using opioid agonist treatment with methadone or, more recently, buprenorphine-naloxone (brand name Suboxone), has played an integral role in addressing Canada's Opioid Crisis. This bulletin shares a report of a medication incident in which nonstandardized documentation of opioid agonist treatment led to preventable harm.  Read more ...

May 14, 2019: Supporting Safe Medication Use during Periods of Fasting

Patients fast for many different reasons, including religious observances. This year, from May 5 to June 4, adults who observe Ramadan will not eat or take any oral medications between dawn and sunset. As a result, medication administration times will need adjustment to avoid putting patients' health at risk. Pharmacy5in5, an online learning tool to help pharmacists stay up to date with pharmacy practice, includes resources for supporting patients in managing their medications during the fasting period.  Read more ...

.:Canada's National Incident Data Repository for Community Pharmacies

ISMP Canada established a national incident data repository for community pharmacies through its community pharmacy incident reporting program. Community pharmacies in several provinces are already contributing to this national repository for continuous quality improvement, and pharmacies in other provinces are considering participation in this effort as well. The repository is helping to create a more cohesive information-sharing system that will facilitate better understanding of medication incidents and the development of more robust strategies to prevent harm.  Read more ...


May 1, 2019: Newsletter -  Sun-Sensitive Medications

Some medications can cause your skin to become more sensitive to direct sunlight or artificial light from tanning beds. This sensitivity can leave you with a severe sunburn or an allergic reaction on your skin even days after exposure to the sun. When these medications are dispensed, pharmacy staff place an extra sticker on the prescription containers to highlight the risk for sun sensitivity. ISMP Canada received several reports from consumers who did not fully understand the warning about medications causing sun-sensitivity. One consumer was aware of the possibility of sun sensitivity when taking an antibiotic (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim) but underestimated the risk and suffered a severe burn. Another consumer began taking a heart medication (amiodarone) in the winter and then had a skin reaction after exposure to the sun the next spring. Read more ...

April 5, 2019: ISMP Canada CEO delivers successful Incident Analysis Workshop in New Brunswick

ISMP Canada President & CEO, Carolyn Hoffman, poses with Horizon Health Network workshop participants in Fredericton, New Brunswick. While in New Brunswick, Carolyn facilitated a two-day Incident Analysis Workshop for the Quality, Patient Safety and Risk Management staff.

"I had the pleasure of working with Alice Damon, Chief Quality & Patient Safety Officer and Lauza Saulnier, Regional Director, Quality and Patient Safety Services to prepare and deliver the workshop to meet the specific needs of their organization," said Carolyn. "I'm impressed by their systematic approach to building a strong and expert team of staff who will effectively support incident reporting, learning and sharing in the Horizon Health Network. ISMP Canada is pleased to play a role in this journey!"

March 21, 2019: Medication Safety in Long-Term Care: Measuring Quality Improvement Over 12 Years

Recently, the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System (otherwise known as the Long-term Care [LTC] Inquiry or Gillese Inquiry) conducted a detailed examination of patient safety, medication-related harm, and medication management systems in Ontario LTC homes. Through analysis and shared learning from the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS), ISMP Canada has developed the Medication Safety Self-Assessment for Long Term Care (MSSA-LTC) program. This program is intended to help LTC homes identify opportunities for enhancing their medication management systems, as well as to guide quality improvement initiatives and evaluate progress over time. This bulletin highlights a 12-year review of results from the MSSA-LTC program.  Read more ...

February 25, 2019: Education Pilot: Mandatory ADR/MDI reporting (Vanessa's Law) – Your chance to participate in a Pilot

Education to support mandatory ADR/MDI reporting (Vanessa’s Law)
Your chance to participate in a Pilot

You’re invited to participate in a unique pilot project that will provide educational content to support implementation of The Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, also known as Vanessa's Law.

Vanessa's Law was enacted to ensure rapid identification of drug and safety issues for Canadians and to improve the sharing of safety information with decision-makers. Vanessa's Law includes a provision for mandatory reporting by hospitals of serious adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and medical device incidents (MDIs), a requirement that will come into force later this year.

The goal of the Educational Approach Program is to provide core content about ADR/MDI reporting that can be used by healthcare professionals, patients/families, healthcare organizations, and education providers for individual learning. These educational materials are designed to be "building blocks" for you to integrate into orientation and other learning activities.  Read more ...
       Announcement (English version)
       Announcement (French version)
       Notice (from ISMP Canada Safety Bulletin – February 21, 2019)