How do you give out the pills?

  1. Hi Correctional nurses.
    I work in Australia and am just wondering how you give out your pills. Some of our patients are on a lot of pills, especially those who have Mental Health issues. All the nurses bag up the pills in the dispensary in zip lock bags and write the patients name and number on the bag. Also their cell location. They then go out with the officers and knock on the cell doors and the patients come out and get their pills one by one. I think this is unsafe because we are then unsure of what the pills are by the time we get to the patients. I would prefer to get the pills out of a trolley with the medication order chart while the patient is there and give them that way. At least the orders and pills can be verified. What does everyone else do and how does this work with the pateints and the Corrections Officers. Are there any safety issues?
    Many thanks in anticipation
  2. Visit CO2emission profile page

    About CO2emission

    Joined: Jan '07; Posts: 94; Likes: 123
    Nurse Educator; from AU
    Specialty: 30 year(s) of experience in ICU, Paeds ICU, Correctional, Education


  3. by   docnurse363
    The state I'm in each facility is a little different. Some have med carts like you mentioned and go to each unit. I am working at a med and min security that is a dorm like setting. So they have to come to us. We have a window in our medical building where we dispense meds. They lime up at a certain time and we give them through a secure window. It has bars and an opening to pass the meds. Almost like a drive thru. The only time we go to them is if they are in segregated housing.
  4. by   CO2emission
    Thanks for that. We sort of do that too in the pods but they are bagged up by the nurses first in zip lock bags with the patients names/ min numbers and cell numbers before they see the patients. I think this practice can lead to the patients getting the wrong pills. We do this all over the jail, even in segro. I would rather get them out of a trolley and hand them to the patients directly according to their prescription but everyone thinks this would take too long. I work in a 990 bed reception/remand centre. I would like to see what others do to see if we can make it safer and not spend too much more time giving the meds.
  5. by   chulada77
    I've seen this at the facility that I'll be working at too. The meds are prepared in packets/baggies beforehand. The MARs are signed after med pass. My concern is that it would be difficult to catch a med error with this type of passing and the same person that is preparing the meds, passing, and signing MARS could be different. Makes me ponder............
  6. by   katkonk
    CO2, do you have a pill line, where they come to the window twice a day?
  7. by   CO2emission
    It depends on the level of security for each pod. They tend to hover about and the officers call them as we tell the officers. The methadone/suboxone parade is a bit different. They get in a line for that and when they have had their suboxone, they have to stand against the wall in line and be observed for diversions (usually under camera). They then have to come back to the window after a short while and show that they still have the sublingual pill. After a bit longer they then have to come back and and have their mouths inspected to make sure it has been absorbed. The big problem I have is the bulk bagging of the pills before we see them. Last week a nurse gave a whole bag of antihypertensives and cardiac drugs to the wrong patient. He was hypotensive but luckily didn't have to get sent out to hospital.