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Medication Safety


Patients, families and advocates are vital partners in providing accurate and detailed information about the medications they take and how they are taking them.

The purpose of the card is to:

1. Promote safe use of medications by recording the medications you take,

2. Encourage people to ask questions about their medications, and

3. Help healthcare providers and emergency responders know patients’ current medications.

Watch this video on One Simple Solution for Medication Safety.


It is important for you to understand what medication errors are, how they happen, and what you, your healthcare provider and your caregiver can do to help prevent them.  Organizations have created easy to understand information for you:

5 Questions to Ask About Your Medications (Canada)

Opioid Use for Pain After Surgery

> English    > French

Using Medications Safely (Canada)

MedlinePlus explains how to take your medications safely.

The Mayo Clinic offers tips for avoiding mistakes when taking medication.

SAFE MEDICATION USE IN CANADA is a website where the public can report medication incidents and get information about using medication safely. They also produce newsletters that provide tips for patients and their families on how they can help prevent adverse medication events.

Consumers, patients and caregivers, as well as health professionals can subscribe to MedEffect Canada, a free service to stay informed of advisories, warnings and recalls for health products that Canadians use every day, such as pain relievers, cold medicines, prescription drugs and natural health products.


Medication reconciliation is the process for making sure health professionals know about all the medications a person takes. The Canadian Medication Reconciliation (MedRec) initiative helps health professionals with the medication reconciliation process in hospitals and long term care facilities. Canadian provinces, other countries and organizations also provide similar help to healthcare providers including:

Summary of Canadian MedRec Initiatives (ISMP Canada)

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, Medication Reconciliation

MATCH Toolkit for Medication Reconciliation (AHRQ, US)

Medication Reconciliation (AHRQ, US)


Many organizations provide tools and resources to educate healthcare professionals about medication errors and medication reconciliation.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practice (ISMP) Canada produces safety bulletins and allows healthcare providers to report medication safety incidents.

o DO NOT USE: Dangerous Abbreviations, Symbols, Dose Designations

• The Canadian Patient Safety Institute has tools, resources and information on Medication Safety.

• ISMP (US) has many Medication Safety Recommendations including lists of:

o Confused Drug Names

o Error-Prone Abbreviations

o High-Alert Medications

Acute Care

Community/Ambulatory Settings

Long Term Care


Patient Safety Primer on Medication Errors (AHRQ) (US)

See also Research on Medication Safety.