Tips when taking medication

Take your medication with information

JGH News, Spring 2014

Drug safety matters, which is why, as patients, it’s up to us to learn all we can about our prescribed or over-the-counter medications. On the whole, we tend to be careful with our prescriptions, but even over-the-counter drugs can have side effects (such as insomnia) or contra-indications (certain natural products). So when you pick up your medication, be sure to read the information sheet, which includes details about side effects, contra-indications, the proper means of storage, the expiry date, and more.

Another place to turn is the section of the JGH Patient and Family Resource Centre (PFRC), where you’ll find a list of resources about drugs—for instance, Health Canada’s page on medication and health products. 

The database for the PEN Collection, which you’ll find on the PFRC page, also contains a list of pamphlets—produced by the JGH Pharmacy Department and the JGH Psychiatry Department—about specific drugs. Use the Search field to enter the names of medications or any subject that interests you.

Finally, remember that it’s very important to check with your pharmacist or doctor to be sure you’re using your medication correctly.

To make an appointment for a JGH librarian’s help in finding reliable and timely information (especially on hard-to-research subjects), please call 514-340-8222, extension 2453 or 2438, or e-mail For more information about any aspect of health, visit the Patient and Family Resource Centre.

Managing your medications: A delicate balance

JGH News, Fall 2004

Unless you’re coming to the hospital for planned surgery, you could get sick unexpectedly and arrive at the Emergency Department at any time. This means that doctors, nurses and pharmacists will be relying on you to supply as much information as possible about the medication you take.

To ensure the medication that’s prescribed for you during your stay will have the maximum benefit, the JGH’s Continuous Quality Improvement and Risk Management teams are offering the following tips:

Always keep an up-to-date list of all of your current medications in an easy-to-find place. This list can be printed for you by your pharmacist when you renew your medication. Also be sure to tell at least one family member where this list is kept. If you can conveniently keep a copy in your wallet or purse, you should do so.

Bring your list of medications with you whenever you go to the hospital, whether for a regular or emergency visit. 

If you don’t have a list, bring all of your current medication with you to the hospital. This allows a nurse, physician or pharmacist to see what you’re taking and make a note of it. Your medication will then be given to a member of your family to be taken home for safekeeping. If no one can take home your medication, staff will store it and return it to you when you’re discharged.

Make sure that hospital staff are aware of every type of medication that you take regularly. This includes over-the-counter and homeopathic medication. If you have any allergies, it’s also important to give this information to hospital staff.

The medication that you’ve brought from home should never be used while you’re in the hospital, unless a physician, nurse or pharmacist advises you to do so. Medication from home may counteract the effectiveness of what the hospital’s medical staff has prescribed for you.

These tips are just one more way that you can help us to help you. It’s all part of efforts by the Jewish General Hospital to involve patients and their families in all aspects of care delivered by dedicated and knowledgeable clinicians. That includes making the medication system as safe and coordinated as possible, a responsibility of the Medication Incident Review Continuous Quality Improvement Team.

For more information on this and other medication safety initiatives, you can contact the team’s Co Chairs, Jocelyne Pépin (Pharmacist) at 514-340-8222, local 25925, or Valerie Vandal (Nursing Coordinator) at local 25559.

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