Background and Aims The increasing complexity in paediatric patient care emphasizes patient safety as a topic of high priority. Parents/caregivers’ lack of knowledge on how to administer extemporaneous formulations in paediatrics can be a potential source of medications errors.
Methods A 2-month cross sectional study was conducted with a convenience sample of paediatric outpatients’ parents/caregivers from four hospitals in Lisbon. A questionnaire was developed to assess knowledge on how to administer the medicine (liquid or powder), how to measure the dose to be administered, administration schedule, storage conditions, validity period of the extemporaneous formulation, and adequate behaviour in case of missing a dose or vomiting immediately after taking the medicine. A univariate analysis was performed using SPSS v.19.
Results Eighty-four individuals participated in the study. The mean (SD) age was 34 (18.6) years, 26.0% were non-Caucasian, 75.3% were married, 46.8% had an average of nine years of education and 50.6% were professionally active.
The mean level of knowledge as assessed by the questionnaire was 53.7%. The lowest levels of knowledge were found for adequate behaviour in case of missing a dose or vomiting after taking the medicine, for which only 10.7% and 20.2% parents/caregivers, respectively, gave the correct answer. Non-Caucasian parents/caregivers and lower education level were significantly associated with a deficit of knowledge (p<0.05).
Conclusions Low levels of knowledge were found among parents/caregivers of paediatric patients. Strategies to enhance knowledge should be developed to improve patient safety.