Liquid medication dosing errors are common in pediatrics. Our outpatient clinic identified gaps in caregiver education based on a 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on prescribing liquid medications. This quality improvement (QI) initiative sought to improve caregiver’s understanding of liquid acetaminophen administration at the 2-month well-child visit from 30% to 70% over a 32-month period.
A resident-led interdisciplinary QI team performed sequential interventions to improve our outcome measure: the percentage of caregivers with an adequate understanding of 4 essential components of liquid acetaminophen administration (name, indication, dose, and frequency). Outcome data were collected via a 4-item verbal assessment of caregiver’s understanding by nursing staff, with correct answers to all items considered adequate understanding. Process measures (medications prescribed and education provided), and balancing measures (anticipatory guidance items discussed) were gathered via electronic health record review. Shewhart “P” charts and established rules for detecting special cause variation were used to analyze data. Scatter plots assessed the association between the provision of syringes and caregiver understanding of medication administration.
In 636 caregivers, overall understanding of medication use improved from 39.8% to 74%. Knowledge of accurate dosage improved from 50.9% to 76.8%. Correlation between syringe provision and caregiver understanding was strong (R = .84).
Resident-led QI improved caregiver’s understanding of liquid acetaminophen administration in infants. The most impactful interventions were implementation of English and Spanish pictograms and provision of dose-demarcated oral syringes, coupled with teach-back. Future interventions will examine generalizability to other medications and expansion to other services.