Medication errors can be avoided. The 5 R’s of medication administration were put in place to protect both those administering medicine and the person taking medicine/s, alongside reducing the harm that can be caused by medication errors. Following the 5 rights is the most basic way to improve patient safety and avoid Emergency Department (ED) visits and hospitalizations.

The ‘5 rights’ of medication safety are:

The Right Person


The Right Drug


The Right Dose



The Right Route



The Right Time

When administering prescribed medication, you should always double-check the frequency and if you’re giving it to the person at the right time. For example, some medications should be taken on a full or empty stomach or within a certain timeframes apart. This leads us to the next step, which is to check when the last dose was given to ensure that you’re not medicating them too soon or too late.

Medical errors and drug-administration mistakes pose significant patient risks. These errors contribute to avoidable patient deaths in the hospital environment. To maintain patient safety and avoid medication errors, it is important that pharmacists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals adhere to the standard for safe medication practices, known as the “five rights” of medication use: the right patient, drug, dose, time and route.¹

Medication errors are one of the easiest adverse events to avoid. Using the basic 5 rights and following your facilities polices can help improve Quality Measures in the areas of Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations.  Avoiding medications errors can impact your facilities quality measure reports and improve your 5 star rating.

Susan Wilcox“Including patients and family can help avoid medication errors, especially on admission.  A thorough medication reconciliation will aid in insuring that patients receive the correct medications. The five rights should continue to be followed as medication-use goals; however, strong support systems that encourage safe practices must be established in order to help healthcare professionals achieve these goals,” added Susan Wilcox, Great Plains QIN Quality Improvement Advisor.


1. Grissinger M. The five rights: a destination without a map. P.T. 2010;35(10):542.

Friday Focus GearsFocus 4 Health: March 2023 Series: Strategies for Opioid Misuse

  • Week One: Awareness of Prescription Opioid Misuse​: Recording 
  • Week Two: Naloxone Training and Education: Recording
  • Week Three: Pathways for Safer Opioid Use: Recording
  • Week Four: Diversion: Recording


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Listen to Our Podcast – Q-Tips For Your Ears

What Are Adverse Drug Events?: Adverse drug events happen every day and can occur with anyone who is taking a medicine. What is an adverse drug event, how does it happen and what can I do to help reduce the risk? Take a few minutes to listen and learn more.