Pharmacy Month poster
UHN Patient Education has teamed up with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to share important medication and safety tips during Pharmacy Awareness Month. (Poster: UHN/Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.)

Patients often struggle to follow their medication regimen safely, especially if they have recently had prescription changes, are taking more than one or are feeling unwell or anxious.

People with low health literacy are less likely to be able to identify their medications, understand how to take them and know the potential side effects, and are more likely to misinterpret warning labels. 

In March, UHN Patient Education is partnering with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to share important medication and safety tips as part of Pharmacy Awareness Month.

Through a series of tweets and Facebook posts geared towards Ontarians, UHN and the Ministry will share information on important medication safety topics, including:

  • Staying safe while in hospital
  • Taking opioids safely
  • Chronic pain medications
  • How to keep track of medications

"Medication is often identified by patients and caregivers as a topic they want to learn more about," says Farrah Schwartz, Manager of Patient and Caregiver Education at UHN, Toronto Rehab. "There are specific ways that we can provide clear information, teach about medication safety and make sure patients and caregivers have access to reliable information when they want to learn more.

"UHN is a leader in providing these health literate resources to our patients, families and staff," Farrah adds. "It is exciting to share these more broadly outside to get the information out there to people who need it and may not know where to find reliable information."

UHN has also been collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to improve health literacy capacity across the province for the past year, through a webinar series, including talks on health literacy and medication teaching and the Ministry's Health Literacy Index.

This is the first campaign that is directed to patients and caregivers.

There are specific things all healthcare providers can do to help patients. The Patient and Caregiver Education Program offers many resources that UHN staff can use to help patients partner in their care, such as reliable health apps, brochures on medications and opportunities to learn about health literacy.​

Learn more about health literacy and medication use by following #HealthInfoON​ on Twitter.

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