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Helping Your Family Member Adjust to Nursing Home Living-Tip #36

To ensure accurate and proper “med pass,” the nurse must adhere to the Ten Rights of Medication Administration.  The tenth right, the right to refuse requires a patient, knowledgeable and concise nurse to appropriately respond to any given situation.  The resident has the right to refuse any medication; although, it is the nurse’s responsibility to explain the consequences of refusing the medication to the resident (if competent) or to the responsible person.  The resident and/or the responsible person must be able to verbalize understanding of the information provided.  It may be, that by determining why the medication was refused, a solution could be reached. The physician would also need to be notified.  A change in the medication may completely alleviate this problem; however, once the nurse has provided the necessary education, the resident still has the right to refuse the medication. Refusal of any medication and the reason requires documentation in the residents record.   These steps must be followed to ensure safe administration of the right to refuse. This is basic training, usually taught to nursing students before they ever actually pass medication to residents. If there is any doubt about a medication that a nurse gives to your loved one, ask the nurse to confirm if it is the correct medication and/or if it was actually ordered.