Hospital staff knowledge of use of antibiotics in penicillin allergy: is there room for improvement?
To evaluate the knowledge of hospital clinical staff on the safe use of antibiotics in penicillin allergy and to ascertain staff attitudes and beliefs towards penicillin-related medication errors.
Study design and subjects
A paper-based knowledge quiz was delivered to 106 clinical staff in early 2011, and 235 staff completed an electronic staff survey.
Across all staff undertaking the knowledge quiz a penicillin antibiotic, deemed unsafe in a penicillin allergic patient, would or may have been given in 7.3% of 742 instances. Meropenem or a cephalosporin would have been given in 36.8% of 318 instances. An antibiotic deemed safe would or may have been withheld in 11.2% of 742 instances. Two-thirds of respondents to the electronic survey agreed that a listing in the drug chart of penicillin antibiotics would be effective in preventing future errors. Just under 90% considered that misinformation or lack of knowledge on which antibiotics contain penicillin was an issue for some or most colleagues.
The prevention of further errors is likely to require a multifaceted approach involving education and materials to address a recognised knowledge gap among medical and nursing staff. Pharmacists are well placed to contribute to such a campaign.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11091668
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