Ideas for Observing "TAP" Month
"Talk About Prescriptions" Month -- Getting Involved in October & Beyond
"Talk About Prescriptions" Month (October) is a great time to organize and conduct medication communication programs for the general public, patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, community businesses and social / service organizations, clubs and health fairs. But remember, avoiding medication errors is an ongoing job, so don't limit your thinking and planning to one month of the year. In fact, when it's about safe medicine use, every month can be "Talk About Prescriptions" Month. Here are some ideas and links to resources you can use to get started:
- Download and distribute copies of What You Can Do to Avoid Medication Errors to your members, customers, patients, and colleagues at work.
- Distribute the consumer poster, "Preventing Medication Errors." Display it in every pharmacy, hospital, medical/dental facility, library, community center, and retail store in your community.
- Place articles about "Talk About Prescriptions" Month in your organization's newsletters and magazines. Articles from NCPIE's 2006 "Talk About Prescriptions" Month planning materials can easily be adapted for local newspapers and newsletters.
- Organize a "brown bag" medicine review program in your community. This program invites patients to bring all their medicines in a bag and discusses them with the health care professional. Patients are advised if medicines are out-of-date, and which medicines, if used in combination or incorrectly, can cause harmful interactions.
- Set up a "Prevent Medication Errors: What You Need to Know / What You Need to Do," information and education exhibit in shopping malls to coincide with scheduled health fairs. Health professional students can discuss general medicine use issues with consumers and distribute educational handouts like What You Can Do to Avoid Medication Errors.
- Adapt NCPIE's Radio Public Service Messages," which include live-read copy and scripts and distribute them to radio stations in your community. Each of the messages can be "tagged" with your organizational name as a co-sponsor along with the radio station's call letters, creating visibility for your group.
- Contact local television health and science reporters. Ask them to air stories about the safe and effective use of prescription medicines in October and beyond. Use NCPIE's "Talk About Prescriptions" Month planning materials and the Institute of Medicine's report, "Preventing Medication Errors" for story ideas. Offer to provide on-air experts.
- Organize a "Preventing Medication Errors" information and education display in local libraries and your own facility.
- Arrange for health care professionals to visit classrooms, senior centers and fraternal organizations. Consumers of all ages can benefit from discussions about how to use medicines safely and effectively. NCPIE has partnered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a new educational program on safe medicine use for students in the 6th - 8th grades. Visit "Medicines in My Home," at www.fda.gov/medsinmyhome. There you'll find all the information and resources needed to conduct a 45-minute educational session designed to educate children about the importance of reading the "Drug Facts" label on nonprescription (over-the-counter or OTC) medicines. The program includes take-home materials for children to share with their parents.
- Promote your activities so others can learn from your experiences. Send information about your ongoing or special "Talk About Prescriptions" activities to: NCPIE, 200-A Monroe Street, Suite 212, Rockville, MD 20850-4448 , or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.