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8 Drug of the month – a snapshot training tool and quick reference guide
  1. Kate Nolan and
  2. Ruth Hardwick
  1. Marie Curie


Background Gaps in the knowledge of various professionals within the hospice were identified regarding medications for various reasons including, new drugs available, new uses or routes for existing drugs, unlicensed drugs as well as new members of staff unfamiliar with palliative care.

Aim To provide a training tool that would cater for all members of the multidisciplinary team and be able to be delivered in a variety of ways. The tool should increase staff knowledge of specific medications, increase confidence, provide staff with the ability to challenge or recommend such medications in order to provide person-centred care and be available for continuing professional development and revalidation. It should be easily accessible, ‘bite-size’ to encourage use and available via various sources – email, notice boards, face to face delivery.

Methods Drugs were identified through drug incidents and staff feedback. From this newsletters were generated in a standard one-sided A4 format to provide information.

Results To date 6 newsletters have been produced to include; Ketamine, Phenobarbital, Ketorolac, NOACs, Dexamethasone and Levetiracetam. All follow the same format listing indications, doses, side-effects, contra-indications, interactions, administration advice and supply issues. The newsletter also include feedback and updates regarding medicines management, stock information and short quizzes to increase cost-effective use of medicines.

Conclusion all members of the team have found the newsletter beneficial, in particular knowledge and confidence in the use of Phenobarbital has increased. To increase awareness newsletters will be presented in medical and nursing inductions. We will continue to seek feedback for future drugs on concerns and challenges faced and pre-empt new drugs on the market. The Medicines Management champions will take ownership and develop future newsletters in conjunction with the pharmacist. A questionnaire will be circulated to identify what improvements can be made to the newsletter.

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