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SP10 Evaluation of a research prioritisation event for parents who administer medicines at home
  1. Stephen Morris,
  2. Fiona Metcalfe,
  3. Kathryn Johnson
  1. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Background The delivery of healthcare tasks, such as administration of medicines, at home by parents and carers to children is an increasing phenomenon.1 It is estimated that up to 80% of families administer a medicine incorrectly at home at some point.2 These medication errors at home persist despite current systems of medication safety and medicines optimisation.

Therefore, new approaches are needed to address these long-standing problems. Utilising patient experience is one such approach, and has been identified by both the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence3 and the NHS Patient Safety Strategy4 as potential new avenues for research.

Aim The aim of this project was to conduct a focus group to consult families who administer medicine to children at home about future research questions.

Method Funding was obtained to conduct this focus group via the National Institute for Health Research Yorkshire and Humber Clinical Research Network (NIHR Y&H CRN) patient and public involvement fund in August 2019. Families who had experience with administering medicines to a child at home were identified using local networks and invited to attend.

The focus group was in person and hosted by the neonatal unit at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and was facilitated by a children’s pharmacist and nurse. The session was held in November 2019, lasted two hours and consisted of a presentation followed by questions and discussion on the topic of medication safety at home. Ethical approval was not required as this project was classed as a patient engagement exercise. Feedback was collected using a proforma supplied by the NIHR Y&H CRN.

Results Six families attended the focus group. Families explained that they frequently experience medication errors at home and felt medication safety was a priority for them. They all described experiences of administration errors and felt the subsequent harm included their child receiving the medicine, but also included the wider family too.

Five families gave feedback. 100% felt that they had enjoyed the experience and 60% felt that their contribution had made a difference to the research. 100% wanted to be included in further research engagement activity. The feedback from families included:

  • ‘I got to meet other parents going through the same things as myself. Got to open up and speak about my son’s conditions.’

  • ‘Good to get together with other parents knowing that we all experience similar issues and that we aren’t on our own.’

  • ‘Being able to give opinions about medications and how it effects child and parents.’

Conclusion The focus group was successful in achieving the aim set out. This was confirmed by the feedback received. This engagement exercise has helped guide a research proposal in the form of a PhD fellowship. This is currently awaiting a decision over funding. Further research is needed to understand this area and develop interventions to reduce the amount of medication errors that occur at home.


  1. Page B, Hinton L, Harrop E, et al. The challenges of caring for children who require complex medical care at home: ‘The go between for everyone is the parent and as the parent that’s an awful lot of responsibility’. Health Expectations 2020;23:1144–1154.

  2. Lopez-Pineda A, Gonzalez de Dios J, Guilabert Mora M, et al. A systematic review on pediatric medication errors by parents or caregivers at home. Expert Opinion on Drug Safey 2022;21:95–105.

  3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Medicines optimisation: the safe and effective use of medicines to enable the best possible outcomes [NG5]. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. 2015.

  4. NHS England and NHS Improvement. The NHS Patient Safety Strategy. London: NHS England. 2019.

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