What medications absolutely must be given daily?
All medication MUST be given as ordered. Unless it is PRN, it must be given daily as scheduled. If it is not given, it is a med error. "Borrowing" from another resident is technically insurance/medicare fraud and hence a big no-no. Your facility should have e-kits (warfarin is almost certainly in the e-kit). If a med isn't in the e-kit, you can call pharmacy and get meds from emergency back up. If there is no way to get the med there to be given as scheduled, then you must call the MD and let them know. They will usually order to hold it and/or give a one time dose of something that is available in the e-kit. TL/DR: if a med isn't on the cart: 1. check the e-kit. 2. Call the pharmacy. 3. Call the doc if med unavailable through e-kit or pharmacy.
What should I be looking for before I send a patient to the ER?
Too many specific scenarios to list! Basically any change of condition from the patient's baseline should be reported to the MD and the MD will decide if they want an ER visit. So you will call the doctor, notify them of the change in condition and they will order the ER transfer (or they may opt for labs, xrays, meds ect.). If the patient is unresponsive, coding, or in a life threatening situation, our policy is to call 911, get them out, and then call the doc after the fact. On the other hand, if the change in condition is minor, we wait until morning to call the doctor. TL;DR: In most cases except the most emergent, the MD will be letting you know who and when to send to ER (though you pretty well know who will be going out based on s/s).
What would you include in a good progress note?
Depends on what is going on with that particular resident. I use my head to toe assessment cheat sheet as a guide:
There is also a great tool floating around on all nurses that deals with charting on specific issues called "daily skilled documentation guidelines" that I also use but can't find a link to at the moment.
Basically if there is anything going on with a resident (UTI, URI, ABT, PEG, FOLEY, TRACH etc) you will want to chart about it.