Helping Your Family Member Adjust to Nursing Home Living-Tip #31

 To ensure accurate and proper “med pass,” the nurse must adhere to the Ten Rights of Medication Administration. The fifth right, the right time, requires a punctual nurse. Again, the nurse must complete the routine checks (tip #28) prior to administering any medication. The pharmacy is also responsible for recognizing time issues when reviewing the physician orders. Medications must usually be given within one-half hour before or one-half hour after the med is actually scheduled/ordered. Some medications must be given at a specific time in order to work best, for example before meals, with food, after meals, separate from milk or certain other medications, or at bed time. Medications ordered “as needed” or “PRN,” are given in a time frame, for example every four hours, every shift, or twice a day. A resident should receive a PRN medication in a reasonable time after the request. Medications ordered “STAT or “NOW” require immediate/as soon as possible administration. For medication to be therapeutic and/or to prevent complications, the correct timing of administration is important. These steps must be followed to ensure safe administration at the right time. 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.