Considerations When Tampering Occurs

Patient safety should be a foremost diversion consideration

By Kim New, JD, BSN, RN

In every case of drug diversion at a healthcare facility, the possibility of harm exists. Patients may have untreated or inadequately treated pain, or be exposed to bloodborne pathogens and other dangerous substances as a result of tampered injectable drugs. Because the risk of harm is measurable, performing a patient harm risk assessment should be a priority part of every diversion response plan.

There are scenarios in which patients are more likely to be negatively affected. Patient harm almost certainly occurs in cases where there is documented pain yet the ordered “prn” medication is diverted. Similarly, when the patient has scheduled pain medication that is ordered to be administered around the clock, diversion of doses is likely to result in harm. Tampering and substitution also result in patient harm should any of the altered drug reach the patient.

Several cases of tampering have been reported recently, including some that raise substantial concerns about the well-being of the patients affected. Tampering can be done artfully and it is not always readily apparent. Even tamper- resistant or tamper-evident safeguards can be bypassed by a savvy diverter.

Read more by clicking the following PDF link: Considerations When Tampering Occurs

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