Get involved in Canadian Patient Safety Week!

Canadian Patient Safety Week (CPSW) is a national, annual campaign to inspire extraordinary improvement in patient safety and quality. Working together, thousands of healthcare professionals, patients and families spread the message to Ask. Listen. Talk. to create a safer healthcare system.  Canadian Patient Safety Week runs October 29 to November 2, 2018.

This year, CPSW will focus on medication safety with the goal of reducing medication errors across Canada.  Not All Meds Get Along encourages an open dialogue between patients and healthcare professionals by promoting each to seek medication reviews for at-risk populations and promoting the use of the 5 Questions to Ask About Your Medications.

Medication errors should be taken seriously.  Consider these facts:

  • An estimated 37 per cent of seniors in nine provinces received a prescription for a drug that should not be taken by this population.
  • Two out of three Canadians over the age of 65 take at least five different prescription medications. One out of four Canadians over the age of 65 take at least 10 different prescription medications.
  • In 2016, one in 143 Canadian seniors was hospitalized due to harmful effects of their medication.
  • Preventable medication hospitalizations cost over $140 million CDN in direct and indirect healthcare expenditures, with lost productivity, including time off work, adding $12 million CDN in costs. Globally, the cost associated with medication errors has been estimated at over $55 billion.

To reduce the risk of medication errors, medication reviews are specifically recommended for anyone on five or more medications; those over 65 years of age; individuals with multiple caregivers, or using multiple pharmacies; people at risk of falls; individuals with chronic medical issues; and during transitions of care. Ask your healthcare professional or pharmacist for a medication review when you are having a new or existing prescription filled or if you are considering adding, removing or changing any non-prescription medications or supplements.

The goal of Canadian Patient Safety Week is to reduce medication errors by 50 per cent over the next five years. The Canadian Patient Safety Institute is coordinating the World Health Organization’s Medication Without Harm campaign in Canada; Canadian Patient Safety Week supports this initiative.

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Much of the promotion of Canadian Patient Safety Week takes place digitally and on social media. Some activities planned for the week include online quizzes to test medication safety knowledge for both patients and providers; a medication safety webinar; a “caption this” comic challenge; a virtual screening and Twitter Talk event of “Falling Through the Cracks: Greg’s Story”; and new episodes of the award-winning PATIENT podcast.

Join the CPSW Medication Safety webinar on Monday, October 29th at 12:00 Noon EST. Details on the presentations and speakers are available on and will be emailed to CPSW registered participants.

The “Caption This” Comic Challenge is a fun way to get involved. Use the Not All Meds Get Along image and write a caption for the illustration. Post your entry on social media and tag the message with for the chance to win great prizes!

On Friday, November 2, at 12:00 Noon EST, a Twitter Talk event will take place: learn about Greg Price’s journey through the healthcare system that ended in his unexpected and tragic death, followed by a discussion moderated by the Price family. The film and discussion are intended to inspire positive change and improvement in the healthcare system, sure to resonate with healthcare providers and leaders, and will help create a platform for future dialogue. Follow @Patient_Safety and @GregsWings to learn more.

The second season of the PATIENT podcast series explores patient safety through a non-fiction medical drama from the perspective of the patient. Three new episodes will be added to this series, focusing on medication safety. Listen to the first season of PATIENT podcasts at

Free digital downloads and promotional packages are available to help you promote Canadian Patient Safety Week at your organization. Printable posters, social media images and slides for point of sale and TV screens are available at  You can also order promotional tools such as pens, stickers, buttons, large-scale posters and medications lists and much more from the CPSW online store.

How will your organization celebrate Canadian Patient Safety Week?  For ideas, take a look at the Communications Toolkit and don’t forget to share your messages and pictures on social media using the hashtag AskListenTalk. To register for Canadian Patient Safety Week, visit

This article was submitted by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute