‘Doctors’ attention needed for patients with special needs’ | Daily News

‘Doctors’ attention needed for patients with special needs’

Panelists at the annual general meeting.
Panelists at the annual general meeting.

When treating patients with special needs, especially those who are hearing-impaired, doctors should focus special attention towards them, Sri Jayawardenepura University Medical Sciences Faculty Prof. Chandanie Wanigatunge said.

She was speaking at the annual general meeting of the National Council for the Deaf (NCD), AGM in Colombo. NCD President W. Ratnayake, Senior Director Maud Senaratne, and Shirani Dissanayake were also present. Prof. Wanigatunge highlighted the services rendered by the NCD for children with hearing impairments and said that when prescribing medicine to people who are hearing-impaired, doctors should be conscious as patients would take the medicine without proper knowledge of using them safely.

She said, “Although it is commonly believed that medicine helps a person to live a healthy life, every medicine has the potential to cause side-effects.”

She said medicine can cause harm even when they are taken correctly. The professor added that there was no safe medicine in the world today and therefore, it was important that people be aware of the best way to use medicine to minimise side-effects. “We take medicine for short periods such as when treating infections and also long periods to control diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes,” she said.

She added that when taking medicine, be it for short or long periods, in order to get the maximum desired effect of the particular medicine, patients need to take the right dose for the right duration. She said, “If medicine is not taken correctly by patients, errors can occur and these errors could cause failures in the treatment process and it could also harm patients,”. Prof. Wanigatunge advised patients to take all their medical records when consulting doctors as it would help them prescribe the right medicine.

She also advised patients to refrain taking medicine from pharmacies without valid prescriptions as doctors change medicine or the doses based on a patient's progress.

She added that if prescriptions are not changed when the condition of the diseases change, the person may not receive the correct medicine and the expected outcome would not be achieved. The professor also said that errors could occur during transcribing (writing from one document to another), dispensing (when receiving medicine from pharmacists), and administration (when patients take their medicine). rof. Wanigatunge said, “Patient/caregiver factors also play a vital role in administering medicine correctly since there are many reasons for caregivers not properly administering medicine due to the inability of understanding instructions (or not following them), abrupt stopping of medicine, poor knowledge of disease and medication, as well as unwillingness to understand instructions.

She added that damaged, incomplete or unavailable medical records, as well as the misplacing such records, could also lead to medical errors.


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