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Tips for Safe Medication Administration

The Medication Log

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Updated May 20, 2014

Keep a Medication Log

Your doctor or nurse may ask you to keep a log of any medications that are prescribed on an “as needed” (or “prn”) basis. These may be pain medications, drugs used to treat nausea and vomiting, etc. They will want you to write down the date, time, dose, and reason you gave the medication. This helps them to determine what symptoms are causing the patient trouble and what medications are effective in treating them.

It is also important for you to keep a record of the medications you give on a regular basis. Caring for someone is time consuming and stressful and it isn’t uncommon for caregivers to wonder if they’ve given a particular medication already. Keeping a log can take one burden from your heavy load.

A log can also come in handy if there is more than one caregiver or someone coming in to help temporarily. You won’t have to wonder if Aunt Mary already gave the medicine before she left to the store.

Use a word processor program, if available, and make a log that can be printed out when needed. You can also hand write a log and make copies at your local copy center.

Here is an example of a medication log for “as needed” or “prn” medicines:

Medication Log

Medication Log
Date/TimeMedication DoseSymptom Treated
11/26 9:00aMorphine Solution5mg/0.25mlPain (4/10)
11/26 2:00pMorphine Solution5mg/0.25mlPain (3/10)
11/26 8:00pMorphine Solution5mg/0.25mlPain (4/10)

In this example, the caregiver kept a record of what day and time the medication was given and how much. This type of log can help healthcare professionals determine how much of a medication a patient is given and its effectiveness.

Here is an example of a medication log for regularly scheduled medicines:

Pain Log
DateTimeMedicationGiven?
Friday 2/15 8:00aMetoprololX
""LasixX
""Morphine TabletX
"8:00p Morphine Tablet

In this example, the caregiver has marked that they have given all the morning medications. If a new caregiver stepped in to take over at 9:00a, they could see that all the morning medications were already given and that the evening medication was not. A log like this can help prevent missed doses or overdoses of medications.

Taking simple steps such as following the “5 rights” and keeping accurate logs can help ensure the safety of your patient or loved one. Giving medications properly can enhance the comfort and quality of life of the one you are caring for.

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