Before administering a liquid medication

The Five Rights are:. There should be one thing added to the list when giving medication in the home: the right storage. This method has helped avoid a lot of accidents involving medicines in hospitals and other healthcare settings and can help you avoid accidents in your home as well. Because there can be differences in the way medication orders are given and received in palliative care and hospicewe will try to include variations when appropriate. When the doctor or nurse tells you to start giving a new medication, take notes.

Write down the name of the medication, the dose you will be giving, and any instructions they give you on how to administer it.

For example, when I am visiting a patient and inform them that they will be starting oral morphine solution at 5mg every 4 hours as needed, I instruct them to take their own notes in addition to the ones I will be writing down for them. I tell them how the medication is dosed; for example, a concentrated solution of 20mg of morphine for every milliliter of liquid.

I will tell them that 5mg of morphine is equivalent to 0. I bring a sample of the bottle and medicine dropper with me that our pharmacy supplies. I show them the dropper and draw up a sample dose of medication. I may draw a diagram of the dropper that they can refer to later. I tell them what the medication is to be used for, how often to give it, and how to keep a record of what they gave. Hopefully, their notes look something like this:.

Take your own notes, even if the doctor or nurse writes down their own instructions for you. You will probably make better sense of instructions you wrote down versus those written by someone else. Taking notes also helps solidify the information in your memory. Whether you pick up the medication at the pharmacy or it is delivered to your house, always check the medication before accepting delivery of it.

Make sure it is the same medication and the same dose, or concentration, as the notes you took. Check that the patient's name on the bottle is your patient.A subscription to J o VE is required to view this content. You will only be able to see the first 20 seconds. We recommend downloading the newest version of Flash here, but we support all versions 10 and above.

If that doesn't help, please let us know. Unable to load video. Please check your Internet connection and reload this page. If the problem continues, please let us know and we'll try to help. An unexpected error occurred. Most oral meds are given in a solid or liquid form. Like for any medication administration procedure, a nurse must follow and complete the five "rights" at the three safety checkpoints. In addition, before administration, the nurse must also know the indication, purpose, and possible side effects of the specific medicine being given to the patient.

This video will illustrate the essential steps on how to prepare and administer solid and liquid forms of oral medications.

before administering a liquid medication

Before delving into the administration process, let's take a look at the different types of oral medications commonly encountered in a hospital setting. Solid forms include tablets, capsules, caplets, and enteric-coated tablets. Liquid forms include syrups, elixirs, spirits, and suspensions.

Some forms have unique medication administration qualities. For example, enteric-coated tablets are covered with material that only is absorbed once in the small intestine. These tablets should not be broken or altered in the preparation stages.

There are two other oral forms that are less common: sublingual and buccal. In the sublingual form, the patient is given the medication to place under the tongue to dissolve. With buccal, the medication is placed in the cheek areas to dissolve. Now that you know about the different types, let's review the oral medication preparation procedure. Upon entering the patient's room, wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or apply hand sanitizer using vigorous friction.

Next, walk to the bedside computer and log into the electronic health record, or EHR. Review the patient's medical history and any recorded allergies to confirm potential adverse reactions. On the MAR, find the meds to be administered at that time. Ask the patient if there are preferences for how to prepare the meds.

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Note that some patients cannot swallow pills, and some may prefer pills crushed. The nurse must know these details before preparing the meds.

After confirming with the patient, exit out of the EHR and leave the room and perform hand hygiene as described previously. Next, acquire the oral tablet medication from the medication dispensing device using the five "rights," as described in the first video of this collection.

This completes the first of the three safety checks. Now, in the medication preparation area, prepare the medication as indicated in the patient's MAR, pharmacy instructions, nurse drug guide, patient preference, and according to the best practices and institutional policies and procedures. Pre-packaged oral tablets or capsules that do not require preparation will remain in the original packaging.

Open tablet packaging if there is difficulty in swallowing, partial dosing required, or if the patient prefers divided tablets.

Liquid medication administration

Some prescribed doses require splitting a tablet to obtain the desired dose of the medication. For splitting, first determine if the tablet is scored-with a visible line where it can be broken in half-or un-scored.Medicines that are in a liquid form can be prescribed by a doctor or purchased over- the counter OTC. Liquid medicines are sometimes referred to as elixirs, syrups, solutions, or mixtures. They are commonly used in children or adults who have difficulty swallowing.

In some cases, the drug itself is absorbed better in a liquid form, so even people who do not have difficulty swallowing might use liquid medicines.

Preparing and Administering Oral Tablet and Liquid Medications

One common error with liquid medicines involves taking the wrong dose. This occurs because of confusion between different dose measurements. For example, liquid medicines can be dosed in household measurements teaspoons or tablespoons or in the metric system milliliters. If these measurements are confused with each other, too much or too little of the medicine can be given.

If you are taking liquid medicines or administering them to a child, consider the following safety strategies to prevent errors:. Other Liquid Medication Safety Tips:. Brought to you by. Who Should Report an Error? If you are taking liquid medicines or administering them to a child, consider the following safety strategies to prevent errors: For OTC liquids: Always use the dosing device that comes with the medicine, such as a syringe or a dosing cup.

If a dosing device does not come with the product, ask a pharmacist to recommend one.

Tips for Safe Medication Administration

Never use household measuring devices to give liquid medicines. They are inaccurate and may deliver more or less than prescribed. To get the most the accurate dose for a child, it is best if it is dosed according to weight, not age.

Tables are often present on the product label to help guide proper dosing by weight. This way you will always have the correct measuring device on hand when you need it. When measuring the liquid medicine, always be sure to look at it at eye level. With dosing cups, measure on a flat surface and not while holding in one hand. Never measure liquid medicine in a dim room or when you are distracted.

before administering a liquid medication

After measuring liquid medicine, immediately replace the cap. If small children either live in your home, or will be visiting, be sure child-resistant caps are on. If using a syringe with a special adapter that allows medication to be drawn directly from the bottle figure 1be aware it may not be childproof.

When using these products, always be sure to remove the adapter and replace a childproof cap after measuring the liquid. NEVER store the syringe on the adapter figure 2. Always store adult and child preparations of liquid medicine in separate areas. This will decrease the chance of mixing up the containers by accident.

before administering a liquid medication

For Prescription Liquid Medicines: When getting a prescription from a healthcare provider, listen carefully to the dosing instructions. Look at the prescription and be alert to the amount of liquid you are supposed to take. If your doctor is sending an electronic prescription to the pharmacy, request a hard copy for your records.

This is for your reference when you pick up your prescription at the pharmacy.Before you give your child any medication, check with your child's doctor. Before you give a medication, make sure that you know:. Liquid medications should be measured using either a syringe, medication cup or special medication spoon. Occasionally a medication will be packaged with a graduated dropper for measuring doses. Teaspoons and tablespoons used at home are not accurate and should not be used to measure medication doses.

Medication cups are useful when giving medication to older children. All rights reserved. Find Another Condition or Treatment. Liquid Medication Administration Before you give your child any medication, check with your child's doctor. Before you give a medication, make sure that you know: Name of the medicine Correct dosage amount of medicine, often written as both the strength and volume Time s of day to give medicine Number of days to continue the medicine Special instructions example: give with food, give on an empty stomach, refrigerate Side effects to watch for When to call the doctor if you have concerns Liquid medications should be measured using either a syringe, medication cup or special medication spoon.

Remember to measure the dose by lining up the top of the black line of the plunger with the desired dose or number on the syringe. Your nurse may mark the syringe for the correct dose. Hold the syringe upright and gently tap the air bubbles toward the end.

Push the plunger gently to force the air out of the end. Check that you have the correct amount of medication left in the syringe. Add more medication if needed. Squirt any extra medication back into the bottle if you have too much. Medication Cup Instructions In order to accurately measure a dose of liquid medication, place the cup on a flat surface and keep your eye level with the cup.

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Pour slowly to the desired dose. Medication Dropper Instructions To use the dropper, place the dropper in the bottle and squeeze the rubber top.

Lift the dropper from the bottle and read the amount off the dropper. To get to the correct dosage, gently squeeze the top of the dropper until the medication is in line with the desired dose written on the dropper. Do NOT switch droppers from one medication to another. Often the dosing measurements can only be used for a specific medication. Do NOT use a dropper with a medication unless the dropper comes in the package with the medication. Do not put your child's liquid medication into a bottle of formula or cup.

Also, some medications may stick to the sides of the bottle or cup and then the child will not receive the full dose. Give all medication as instructed, for as long as instructed. Do not stop medications early unless instructed to do so by your physician. Do not skip doses. If you miss a dose of this medication, give it as soon as you remember it. However, it if is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to the regular dosing schedule.DO NOT use flatware spoons used for eating for giving medicine.

They are not all the same size. For example, a flatware teaspoon could be as small as one half teaspoon 2. There can be problems with oral syringes, however. The FDA has had reports of young children choking on syringe caps.

To be safe, remove the cap before you use an oral syringe. Throw it away if you do not need it for future use.

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If you need it, keep it out of reach of infants and small children. Dosing cups are also a handy way to give liquid medicines. However, dosing errors have occurred with them. Always check to make sure the units teaspoon, tablespoon, mL, or cc on the cup or syringe match the units of the dose you want to give.

Liquid medicines often do not taste good, but many flavors are now available and can be added to any liquid medicine. Ask your pharmacist. American Academy of Family Physicians website. How to give your child medicine. Updated October 1, Accessed October 16, Principles of drug therapy. In: Kliegman RM, St. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; chap Liquid medication errors and dosing tools: a randomized controlled experiment.

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Liquid Medication Administration

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