Specialties Geriatric


I'm not a nurse but work in an assisted living facility in CO. The new director has made massive changes the primary one was bringing in a half paralized 83 year old. I work the graveyard shift but I'm required to give meds to this woman at 7am. The problem is that the womans daughter fills her pill box and leaves it in her room and yet I and my coworkers are required to sign off on her meds. I'm pretty sure this is illegal as all get out but need to know for sure. Another minor problem is that in order to administer her meds I have to place them at the back of her throat until she basically gags. Is this appropriate? Please Help! If possible could you also refer me to where I can get the written rules of med admin. procedures. Thanks. Andi



I don't know about assisted living facilities, but in LTC it is definitely NOT OK to leave meds in the pt's room! Go to your director for clarification - there are most likely regs concerning any meds left with the patient, and not complying with them could cause your facility major problems. Do you have confused residents? What if one of the got into these meds?? Can you spell "LAWSUIT"?

As for giving the meds... If they are not extended release, you might try crushing them and putting them in a little pudding. Make sure the pt's on her back and her head is up good, first. Then give her plenty of water to wash it all down.


[This message has been edited by tinkertoys (edited February 03, 2000).]

Scary situation, why are you having to put them on the back of her throat? I am also wondering about potential for lawsuit. It sounds like she has swallowing difficulty. This could result in her aspirating (choking) on the med or even aspiration pneumonia. I do not know the legalities of Assisted Living facilities so can't help you there but I would sure find out about them before giving a med without a license or certification. I would suggest talking to the daughter or have the director talk to her about maybe getting the med in liquid form if possible & only if she can swallow them safely. I would also do as the other reply stated and have her head elevated and keep it elevated for little while afterwards. I would definitely find out what your liability is. Your facility should have some sort of policy for you to review. Another question is do you know everything there is to know about the med you are giving, possible side effects, what to look for in case of a reaction etc? Is it a drug that you don't give if the blood pressure is a certain amount or the heart rate too low? So you see there is a lot more to giving a med than just have the pt swallow. Back yourself up with knowledge and make sure it legally safe for you to give the meds coz the person responsible will be you.

Assisted Living does not have the same "rules" as Longterm Care Facilities.The family member who is in charge of care may have signed a self-medication form. You could be held responsible if the wrong medication was taken. Esp. if the person is unable to take them without assist.

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