Dropped pills

  1. 1
    So last night when I was giving my patient her meds in the med cup of course, she dropped them on the floor. It was her synthroid and oxycodone. I told her I would get new pills for her but she insisted on taking them and even got down on her hands and knees to find the two pills. She ended up taking the dropped ones even after I said a few times il throw these ones away and get new ones. Now I'm just beating myself up over it for the fact that I don't know if I should have filled out an incident report or not. I asked another nurse I worked with and she told me not to worry about it, it's okay. Technically, it was all the patient but why am I beating myself up over a dropped and taken pill? Any suggestions on when this happens to you?! (If ever) :/
    Joe V likes this.
  2. 47 Comments so far...

  3. 3
    I would probably have documented exactly what happened just to cya, but I am sure you will probably not hear about it again. Gross! Hospital floors are icky!
    Crux1024, KbmRN, and mandaaRN like this.
  4. 1
    I would not have filled out an incident report but I would have definitely documented it somewhere.
    tewdles likes this.
  5. 9
    I wouldn't worry too much about it! The patient took it upon herself to pick up the pills off the floor and ingest them. There is no appropriate place in the medical record to document this. I wouldn't fill out an incident report, either.
    cienurse, NyteshiftLVN, Miss Lizzie, and 6 others like this.
  6. 0
    Or document it? Although I didn't. But for future reference, god for bid it happened again
  7. 15
    Why would you document it? How is it pertinent to the patient's nursing diagnosis, plan of care, or response to treatment?

    I suppose if the patient was admitted for a spinal cord injury and was suddenly able to get out of bed and retrieve dropped pills off the floor, it would be significant. If the patient had been obtunded all day and was suddenly alert enough to climb out of bed and pick some pills up off the floor, then it would be significant.

    If there was no significant change in the patient's status, why would this be pertinent information to document in the medical record?
    cienurse, PixieButtercup, mystory, and 12 others like this.
  8. 12
    Random comment: I recall a Microbiology class where we took swabs of various surfaces, and the floor actually had a low rate of microbe growth in comparison to, say, faucet handles... or people's hands.

    When I worked LTC years ago I had an occasional pt insist on taking pills that were dropped. If it didn't bother them, didn't bother me.
    sckimrn, NyteshiftLVN, Devochka, and 9 others like this.
  9. 3
    Quote from ~*Stargazer*~
    Why would you document it? How is it pertinent to the patient's nursing diagnosis, plan of care, or response to treatment?

    I suppose if the patient was admitted for a spinal cord injury and was suddenly able to get out of bed and retrieve dropped pills off the floor, it would be significant. If the patient had been obtunded all day and was suddenly alert enough to climb out of bed and pick some pills up off the floor, then it would be significant.

    If there was no significant change in the patient's status, why would this be pertinent information to document in the medical record?
    If the patient later complains that the nurse made her take pills off the floor or develops mouth MRSA or starts doing other bat poo crazy things, I'd sure be glad to have documented something.
  10. 16
    The patient can complain that the nurse made her lick the doorknob or some equally silly thing. Should the nurse document in order to prevent every potential complaint? The answer is no. That is not the purpose of the patient care record.

    The mouth is not a common site for MRSA infection, due to the mouth's own defenses. Sure, it's possible but not highly likely. If the person did develop a MRSA infection in her mouth at some later date, there is no way to know whether it was caused by taking those pills or drinking from a contaminated faucet, or touching her friend's oozing pustule and then sticking her finger in her mouth, or any other cause. The cause would not change the course of treatment anyway.

    If the patient starts behaving erratically, then it would be worth documenting. But an alert and oriented person choosing to take pills that have been dropped on the floor is not really "crazy". People drop pills on the floor all the time at home and still take them. That doesn't make them mentally ill.

    You're free to document whatever you like, but I don't think it was necessary in this case.
    sckimrn, NyteshiftLVN, Miss Lizzie, and 13 others like this.
  11. 0
    I wouldn't have documented it & as Stargazer has said, where would you document such an event? It has happened several times at my psych facility & it has never been a big deal. I usually pick up the dropped meds or the patient does then I wipe them off before he/she takes them. I think once did a patient demand a new pill and I gave them a new pill. I really don't see a need to document this.


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