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Caregiver Training Blog

Best Practices for a Perfect Med Pass

psychoactive-medications"Med pass" is a complex process, but well worth investing the time and effort to get it right. Not only does an efficient, well-executed med pass help prevent dangerous medication errors, but it also frees up staff to devote more time to other aspects of patient care.This piece takes a closer look at the topic of administering medication in care settings while highlighting several best practices for before, during and after medication distribution. 

What is Med Pass?

Medication pass, or "med pass," is the term used to describe the process through which medication is administered to patients. While licensed nurses conduct med pass in most cases, in some instances unlicensed nursing staff members take on the role of dispensing medications under the supervision of a nurse.

The typical med pass is performed on a clearly-defined schedule with the nursing staff member transporting the medication using a cart to move from patient to patient.

Five Best Practices for Med Pass

Med pass may sound relatively straightforward, but it can be extremely time-consuming when you factor in everything from organizing the medication to documenting its administration. The right techniques, however, can help make the process as efficient as possible. Read on for a roundup of five med pass best practices.

1. Organize the cart in advance.

When time is limited and your to-do list is long, the temptation is strong to jump straight into doing. However, this can lead to wasted time in the long run. Before beginning med pass, clean the cart and gather all of the supplies you'll need, such as disposable containers, spoons and straws. Never reuse any disposable items, and refrain from pre-pouring medications.

2. Practice proper hygiene.

Wash hands with soap and water before and after med pass as well as between residents. Arrange spoons so that the handles can be grabbed, and avoid touching straws by their ends. Keep soft foods and liquids used to administer medication covered and dated, and use gloves when opening capsules and/or for contact with pills.

3. Secure all medication.

Medication should be secured at all times, and the keys should be with the staff member conducting the med pass. If the cart is not locked, it should be within sight at all times. Only dispense medications which you have personally prepared.

Medication carts should never be brought into resident rooms, and should instead remain in the doorway with the outward side of the cart inaccessible to passersby. No medication should be kept on the top of the cart.

Medications which require refrigeration should be kept in a refrigerator in a locked room or a locked fridge.

4. Remember the "rights" of medication administration.

There are multiple "rights" to confirm with the MAR during med pass: right resident; right drug; right dose; right route; right time; right documentation; right reason; and right response.

If there is ever a difference between the medication and the MAR, do not give the medication without reviewing the chart and checking with your supervisor and/or the pharmacy, if necessary. Only proceed with dispensing a medication when it's consistent with the MAR.

5. Respect privacy and dignity.

Safeguarding the privacy, dignity and rights of patients remains of paramount importance during med pass. Never interrupt residents while eating, sleeping or using the bathroom to administer medications without an order. Ideally, all medication should be dispensed in a private location. Always knock first, identify yourself, explain medications, and be responsive to questions from residents about medications and procedures.

Patients do have the right to refuse medication and should never be forced into taking medication.

Med pass may seem complicated, but implementing these policies and procedures can make the process safer and more effective.

mmLearn.org offers a large library of free videos for caregivers of older adults, covering topics pertaining to senior care. Whether you are a healthcare professional or a family caregiver, if you are caring for an older adult we know that you will find mmLearn.org an essential learning and guidance tool for all of your caregiver training needs. For more useful information on med pass and other relevant topics for caregivers, watch mmLearn's The Perfect Med Pass video, read the comprehensive "Med Pass Fundamentals" guide, or access our complete collection of free online caregiver videos today.