Blood pressure medication / checking blood pressure - page 2

by abeautifulmind | 16,696 Views | 22 Comments

Hello :) I am currently learning all my pharm about blood pressure medications (student) and am wondering since my time spent on a ward that not many people check blood pressures prior to administering morning blood pressure... Read More


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    I am a new nurse and I recently started working in a long term health care facility. Some medications on the MAR have directions to hold if B/P is < X. The CNA's usually don't report the v/s til the end of the shift unless the readings are abnormal. When you have 30 residents or more receiving medications multiple times during the shift how do you CYA by checking the v/s yourself and still be able to administer each medication an hour before or after their prescribed time, plus charting and everything else? Any pointers on how to build time management skills regarding this?
  2. 0
    You can always invest in a portable b/p cuff that goes on the wrist. I would take the b/p before cardiac med passes to ensure that the patient's baseline has not changed (and trust me: It can, and does, change).
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    I am baffled when I see nurses giving BP/cardiac meds without getting a recent BP and HR assessment. We all worked hard to get our licenses and it can easily be taken away if we aren't being safe. Remember that even though people do often take their BP meds at home without taking a BP, that's on their watch. When you have them, they have been admitted into the hospital because they are sick. It's now on your watch. It doesn't take that much longer to slap a BP cuff on.
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    I work in a LTC facility and our CNAs do not take vital signs. We must take a BP prior to administering any cardiac drugs, and the general policy is to hold for a BP of less than 100/60 (if either systolic or diastolic is below one of these values). We technically don't have to document a BP for diuretics, but there are no residents at the facility that do not take some sort of BP med concurrently with their diuretic, so BP is monitored anyway. My facility is pretty accepting of nursing judgement calls despite these pre-set parameters (i.e. if I have known resident John for two years and I know that he is extremely sensitive to his metoprolol, I can hold for a BP of 109/65 and not really be questioned). The only exception to this general practice is when the resident in question is an ALF resident. In this case they simply hand out meds as these patients are not requiring "skilled nursing care" and their medication is to be administered as if they were at home...

    In an acute setting, I would not administer any cardiac/BP/diuretic meds without having a very recent, accurate BP.
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    Like they all said, always check BP and HR before the BP med, end of story. No, they don't always take their own BP at home, but better safe than sorry. Often there are parameters to hold a beta blocker or whatever if the SBP is < say 110 and HR is <60, but if there are no parameters specifically ordered and you get a low BP or HR, you should hold the med and notify the doc and see if they still want it given or want to write in parameters, better safe than sorry. Now during school and now at the hospital that I work at I ran into different facility polities for checking BP and HR for IV push BP meds, so you will just have to ask or check your facilities policy on that. The facility I work at now says to check before, 5 mins after, 15 mins after, then 1 hour after I believe for one time/PRN doses, then for scheduled IVP bp meds it was another policy. I don't give them that much so I have to bring up the policy on the infoweb every time. My facility loves policies. But you were asking about specific meds. Any BP affecting med has the potential to drop a patients BP and or HR significantly but the rate at which this happens depends on the patient's metabolism and the onset time of the drug. So in essence, you always just need to check before so you know they are ok to receive the med. You will learn to use clinical judgement on holding meds and notifying the doctor as you practice. For example, I have given anywhere from 12.5mg to 100mg of metoprolol to patients. If their BP isnt real high and they are due for 100mg of metoprolol, I will look back in the chart and see if they have been still giving it, or page the doc and see if they want them to have the whole dose if there are no parameters written. I know dosages seem overwhelming, but you'll learn which ones you need to be aware of.
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    I would see if there could be education and policies administered that requires the CNAs to post or report the vitals as soon as they are obtained?
  7. 0
    Quote from turnforthenurseRN
    Rule of thumb...you need to check the HR & BP for every BP medication, no ifs, ands or buts.
    Same for me.

    And we mo longer have "nursing judgment". If no parameters are specified, you must call the doctor before holding.
  8. 0
    Question. I am a new nurse and it seems I am always trying to decide whether or not to give a BP medication to a lower BP patient. Many times the patient has multiple BP meds. I take a BP and wonder. If there is one med, okay. If there are several it gets more complicated. (This post assumes no parameters given by doc). I asked one of the more experienced nurses one day and she said to go by the Rate Pressure Product. RPP she explained is multiplying the heart rate times the systolic BP. If the resulting number is above 6000 it is okay to give meds. If at or below, hold the meds.
    I had never heard this before. Have you guys heard of this or used it? She said if the RPP is above 6000 the heart is perfusing well enough to give BP meds. Not sure about using this as a general guideline in the absence of parameters. What do you think?
  9. 0
    I have never heard of the Rate Pressure Product; I will have to research and read up about it.
  10. 0
    Over the years I have learnt that a ounce of prevention is always better that a pound of cure. It takes no more that 5 min. to check a BP prior to giving these meds but, it will take you an entire shift to chase behind a pt. that you accidentally or otherwise made hypotensive. It just an overall unsafe practice and not worth the stress, paperwork, meetings, lawsuit and possible loss of my job should the outcome be unfavorable for such pt. I protect my license at all cost and sometime that include telling a provider that their orders are inappropriate for that patient and I'm sorry but I will not administer it. We all practice under a license and he/she could alway administer it themselves should they see it fit.


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