Being Ordered to Give Whiskey

  1. So, the another night, we got a new admit. Along with this new person, amongst all the busyness that accompanies new people, was a strange order that made, and still makes, me nervous. Apparently, we are to give him whiskey along with his evening medications. This worries me since alcohol interacts with so many medications. Not to mention that, if we were to need to manage any pain, we would have to give dilaudid, which shouldn't be given with alcohol. It is an order, and he said he legally is able to do so, but it still makes me uncomfortable. It doesn't seem right as part of my nursing duties to be giving patients alcohol.

    Has anyone ever heard of this? Am I right to be leery about this order?
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    About purplegal, ADN, BSN, RN

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 640; Likes: 825
    RN; from US

    131 Comments

  3. by   CelticGoddess
    I've not given whiskey but I have given patients beer. If they are alcoholics and they are acute, it is not the time to detox them. I had a patient who got 2 beers 4x a day. On top of his pain meds. He doesn't have the same reactions that I would have if I mixed narcos with etoh. Or any other medications. As the MD the rationale behind it, it might be to prevent dts.
  4. by   RainMom
    I had a pt in clinicals at an LTC that had written orders for a prn beer in the evening. Surprised me at the time, but eh...it was his home & I suppose he should be able to have an occasional drink (within controlled parameters). Like stated above, I'm sure a shot of whiskey a day along with his normal meds is probably not unusual for your pt (he probably takes a lot more).
  5. by   loriangel14
    I have given beer, whiskey, wine and brandy. Sometimes it's to prevent dts. Once the beer was for appetite and other times it's been for palliative patients that just wanted a drink with dinner
  6. by   smf0903
    We had a hospice patient not too long ago who was given beer every day. So far that's the only patient I've given an alcohol to, but we do have written protocol for giving alcohol to patients.
  7. by   caliotter3
    We gave wine to a couple of nursing home residents with an order. It was so long ago, I don't remember any problems discussed about their meds at the time.
  8. by   dishes
    Is the alcohol obtained from the pharmacy? Have you asked the pharmacist about of potential interactions with the patient's medications? The pharmacist can explain the risks and benefits of giving this particular patient a small amount alcohol to the nursing staff.
  9. by   Emergent
    This was more common back in more sensible times. The patient is obviously a daily drinker and needs his maintenance dose.

    My late husband got wine with meals in the hospital to help his appetite thanks to a very caring dietitian to whom I'm forever grateful.

    America is still puritanical regarding alcoholic beverages. But with 5% of the world's population we consume 70% of the world's prescribed pharmaceuticals. We are one of 2 nations allowing direct to consumer advertising of drugs. Yet we get nervous at a daily glass of wine or 2.
  10. by   TheCommuter
    I have had multiple nursing home residents with orders for HS alcoholic beverages over the years. This type of order is nothing new, nor is it outside the realm of possibilities. It is for their comfort...
  11. by   Not_A_Hat_Person
    When I worked in Assisted Living, I had a resident who got 2 oz. of whiskey with ice and water every evening. She also had an order for a PRN drink. The family provided the whiskey, which was kept in the med room fridge.

    As long as it's not interacting with other meds, why not let them have a cocktail?
  12. by   Libby1987
    I would draw the line at cheap whiskey.
  13. by   loriangel14
    Lol I work rehab. One fella always got one shot of whiskey every hs.
  14. by   sevensonnets
    It's a whole lot better to give it to them now than to deal with the DTs that will come in a couple of days!

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