D. Clarifying “As Needed” or “PRN” Prescription Labels
- When an “as needed” or “PRN” medication is labeled without all of the necessary information, you are required to contact the health care provider to obtain any missing information. An unlicensed person may obtain such clarification from the health care provider; revised instructions clarifying the order are not considered a change in the health care provider’s order.With all “as needed” medication orders, you must know why the medication should be taken, and any limits to taking the medication.
- How to Clarify “As Needed” or “PRN” Medication Orders
- Immediately after receiving the medication, determine what information is missing. For example, the upper dosage limits for the medication or why the medication may be requested.
- Call the health care provider’s office and explain that you are not a nurse, but are assisting a resident with his/her medications as allowed in an assisted living facility. Ask for the precise information that is missing.
- Ask the health care provider’s office if they can fax you a copy of the revised instructions. If they cannot do this, write down the instructions and repeat it back to the health care provider. This process will decrease the likelihood of mistakes.
- Write in the revised instructions or the missing information on the medication record under the directions for use. Initial the entry. The medication record should also include a dated and signed notation that the health care provider was contacted to obtain revised instructions for the medication and what the revisions are. This notation is often placed on the back of the medication observation record.