Medication Safety

The medications you take have many uses, such as to treat, help prevent or lessen the symptoms of your disease or illness. They can be ordered for you by a doctor, you can buy them in a store or pharmacy, or they can be given to you as a sample by your doctor. Medications come in many different shapes, sizes and colours. They can also come in different strengths. If the medicine looks different, ask your pharmacist or doctor if it is the right medicine. Always ask your pharmacist when you start a new drug if it will react with the other drugs you are on.

Your Safety and Taking Cancer Medication at Home

Attend an Education Class

You and your family can attend an education class to learn more about oral anti-cancer medications. Classes are held at CancerCare Manitoba and taught by nurses or pharmacists.

What will you learn?

  • How to properly store your medication.
  • Common side effects and how to deal with these side effects.
  • How to safely handle medications.

Ask your clinic staff for the times and locations of these classes.

About Your Medications

  • Tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you have allergies to medication, food or anything else.
  • Make a list of all your medicines, including prescribed medicine, medicines you buy at the store (over-the-counter), vitamins, herbs or medicines made for you from nature. Use the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety Medication card (It’s Safe to Ask) which is available at most pharmacies or print your own from the Manitoba Institute of Patient Safety website at www.mips.ca to make your list. Tip: If you download and save the information, you can make changes easily and reprint revised copies.
  • Bring your list and all your medications with you to all your appointments.
  • Tell your nurse about any problems you may have taking your medication and any problems or side effects you may feel.
  • Ask your pharmacist if there is anything special you need to do at home regarding your treatments or medications. For example, taking medicine with food or not taking with food.
  • Store your medications in a cool, dry place or follow the instructions. Keep medicine out of the reach of children.

Your Medication History: Medication Reconciliation – Working together to provide safe care

  • It is important for your health care team to know what medications you take. Medication Reconciliation is where all your health care providers work together to create an accurate and complete medication list for you. This list is known as the Best Possible Medication History in your health record.
  • If you see more than one care provider, this list will be reviewed to make sure that any changes in medications, such as ones being added, changed or stopped is updated in your list.
  • Your medication list helps your health care team know what medications you are taking so that the care and treatment you receive does not react with your medications.
  • Before you come to your visit at the cancer centre, you will be asked to bring in a list (It’s Safe to Ask medication card) and your actual medications. You can download a medication card from the Manitoba Patient Safety Institute’s website, www.mips.ca.
  • When you have a doctor’s appointment at the cancer centre, your record will be checked and updated to show any changes.
  • If there are any changes to your list of medications, a new copy will be given to you.
  • You can show this list to your family doctor, pharmacist or other care provider when you have visits with them.
  • This is your Best Possible Medication History. It has your personal medical information so take care of it, keep it with you or place it in My Cancer Handbook. You can also place it in your Emergency Response Information Kit (E.R.I.K) if you have one at home.

E.R.I.K (Emergency Response Information Kit) is available from local Senior Resource Councils.

Call 204-945-6565 or Toll-free 1-800-665-6565 to find out the phone number of the Senior Resource Council nearest you. Kits are also available from Fire and Paramedic Stations.