Helping Your Family Member Adjust to Nursing Home Living-Tip #26

Medication errors occur far too often in nursing homes. Any medication administered to a resident must be prescribed by the doctor. Nursing home residents frequently have a long list of prescribed medications. Some meds are ordered for long-term, chronic conditions (for example, high blood pressure), while other meds may be ordered for short-term, acute illnesses (for example, a respiratory infection). Likewise, nurses administering medications are responsible for many residents and passing medication is just one of many duties included in the various jobs which need to be completed in a relatively short time. For years nurses have been taught the list of the five rights of medication administration; however, over the more recent years, this original list of the five rights has increased. Even though the list has changed, the skill behind administering medications has always included each of these additional points. To ensure an accurate and proper “med pass,” the nurse must now adhere to the ten rights of medication administration:

1. The right patient

2. The right drug

3. The right dose

4. The right route

5. The right time

6. The right assessment

7. The right education

8. The right documentation

9. The right evaluation

10. 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 your loved one, ask the nurse to confirm if it is the correct medication and/or if it was actually ordered.