Medication administration

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Scope

The Medication Administration Policy is applicable to employees performing work at Healthcare HQ (HHQ) or at the site of one of HHQ’s clients.

The Policy exists to:

  • provide a mechanism for the safe administering and storing of medications and monitoring of the effects of medicines;
  • ensure that workers know the reason for administration of medications, their main pharmacological action, dose range, recommended route, desired effect, potential adverse effect and patient or resident’s history regarding intolerance or allergy; and
  • ensure patients or residents receive the correct medication at the correct time, do not experience anxiety or discomfort during or following administration of the medication and to avoid the experience of complications following the administration of a medication. If a complication does occur, it shall be quickly identified.

Procedure

All medications administered are to be checked by two staff members who are deemed competent; taking into account the medication to be administered and the route of administration.

The nurse administering a medication is accountable for the safe administration of medications. This requires a sound knowledge of the use, action and usual dose, frequency of use, route of administration, precautions and adverse effects of the medications being administered.

Checking a Medication Order

The RN/EN should check the medication order for completeness before administering a medication. This includes checking that the below are included on the medication order:

  • The name of the medication to be administered
  • The dose, frequency and times for administration
  • The indication
  • The route of administration
  • The prescription date
  • The prescriber’s name and signature (must be legible/identifiable)

The 6 Rights

The six rights of safe medication administration outline the correct method of identifying that the correct patient is receiving the correct medication. The 6 Rights should be checked for every medication order:

  1. Right patient / individual (with 3 identifiers)
    • Check 3 identifiers (e.g. patient name, date of birth, UMRN)
  2. Right medication
    • Name, strength and formulation
    • Ensure the above match the prescription with the label on the immediate container
    • Check the expiry date and date opened (for oral medications).
  3. Right dose
    • Ensure that an appropriate dose has been prescribed
    • Ensure the correct dose and form has been dispensed
    • Where a calculation is required, ensure two authorised health professionals perform an independent calculation
  4. Right route
  5. Right time (and date)
    • Ensure the timing and frequency of administration matches that charted
    • If the medication is given more than 30 minutes from the specified administration time, the time of administration should be recorded
  6. Right documentation
    • Sign the medication chart
    • Document any deviations from the prescription in the patient’s progress notes

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