Introduction

As an experienced , I understand that managing symptoms for comfort is crucial for terminally ill patients. One way we do this is through PRN medications. Today, I want to help you understand PRN medications and how they can be used with scheduled medications.

What Are PRN Medications?

PRN medications are given on an as-needed basis. The doctor prescribes them to manage specific symptoms that a patient may experience, such as pain, , or . It's important to note that PRN medications are not meant to be taken on a regular schedule like other medications.

How Do PRN Medications Work?

When a patient is experiencing a symptom, PRN medication can be given to manage that symptom. For example, if a patient is experiencing pain, a pain medication like morphine may be prescribed as a PRN medication. When the patient feels pain, the medication can be given to manage the pain. It's important to note that PRN medications should only be given when the patient is experiencing the symptoms they were prescribed for.

Can PRN Medications Be Given with Scheduled Medications?

Yes, PRN medications of the same name or class can be given simultaneously as scheduled medications. For example, if a patient is scheduled to receive Tylenol every 4 hours but they're experiencing a headache in between doses, they can be given a PRN dose of Tylenol to manage the headache. The PRN dose of Tylenol can be given at the same time as the scheduled dose of Tylenol.

It is important to remember that some medications have a maximum dose per 24-hour period. Unless an authorized provider gives an order to go over the maximum dose, you must be aware of the maximum dose and doses given to date. For example, Tylenol (Acetaminophen) has a maximum dose of 3,000 milligrams (3 grams) daily.

What are some common comfort medications and their maximum daily dose?

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) — 3,000 milligrams (3 grams) per day
  • Ativan (Lorazepam) — 10 milligrams per day
  • Haloperidol (Haldol) — 30 milligrams per day
  • Morphine — 1,600 milligrams per day
  • Ondansetron (Zofran) — 24 milligrams per day
  • Prochlorperazine (Compazine) — 40milligrams per day

If your patient/loved one is receiving a medication not listed above, and you are unsure, check with a pharmacist or the provider.

Tips for Administering PRN Medications

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when administering PRN medications:

  • Only give PRN medications when the patient is experiencing the symptoms for which they were prescribed. After you're ruled out, scheduled medications cannot be given or are not as effective as you would like them for the patient.
  • Be aware of the maximum dose for the day, adding up the scheduled doses given and the PRN dose you are considering giving to ensure you don't exceed the maximum dose.
  • Record the time and dose of each PRN medication in the patient's chart.
  • Be aware of the potential of the medication and report any adverse reactions to the doctor or nurse.

I hope this information helps you understand PRN medications better. Remember, managing symptoms for comfort is essential to , and PRN medications can be useful in achieving this goal.

Conclusion

Understanding PRN medications is crucial for managing symptoms and providing comfort to terminally ill patients. PRN medications, or medications given on an as-needed basis, are prescribed to manage specific symptoms such as pain, , or . They are not meant to be taken regularly like other medications. PRN medications can be given in conjunction with scheduled medications, and it's essential to be aware of the maximum daily dose for each medication. Some common comfort medications and their maximum daily doses include Acetaminophen (Tylenol) at 3,000 milligrams per day, Ativan (Lorazepam) at 10 milligrams per day, and Morphine at 1,600 milligrams per day.

When administering PRN medications, it's essential to give them only when the patient is experiencing the symptom they were prescribed for, be mindful of the maximum daily dose, record the time and dose of each PRN medication given, and be aware of potential . PRN medications can be a helpful tool in managing symptoms for comfort in . However, it's essential to communicate with healthcare providers with any questions or concerns.

In summary, PRN medications play a vital role in providing comfort to terminally ill patients by managing specific symptoms as needed. Understanding their use, maximum daily doses and proper administration is essential for effective symptom management and patient comfort in hospice care.

Resources

The Importance of Caregiver Journaling

Reporting Changes in Condition to Hospice

Pain Assessment in Hospitalized Older Adults With Dementia and Delirium

Pain Assessment in Dementia – International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP)

Pain Assessment in People with Dementia: AJN The American Journal of Nursing

PAINAD Scale Offers Alternative to Assessing Pain in the Dementia Patient – JEMS: EMS, Emergency Medical Services – Training, Paramedic, EMT News

Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia Scale (PAINAD) – MDCalc

Uncontrolled Pain and Risk for Depression and Behavioral Symptoms in Residents With Dementia

Chronic Pain & Symptom Tracker: A 90-Day Guided Journal: Detailed Daily Pain Assessment Diary, Mood Tracker & Medication Log for Chronic Illness Management

Pain And Symptom Tracker: Daily Pain Tracking Journal Detailed Pain Assessment Diary, Medication, Supplements Food & Activities Log for Chronic Illness Management

Pain Assessment and Pharmacologic Management

Adult Nonverbal Pain Scale (NVPS) Tool for pain assessment

Assessing pain in patients with cognitive impairment in acute care

FLACC Pain Scale

Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia Scale (PAINAD)

Pain Assessment in Non-Communicative Adult Palliative Care Patients

Pain Assessment in People with Dementia

Tools for Assessment of Pain in Nonverbal Older Adults with Dementia: A State-of-the-Science Review

Understanding the physiological effects of unrelieved pain

Untreated Pain, Narcotics Regulation, and Global Health Ideologies

Eldercare Locator: a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources

Surviving Caregiving with Dignity, Love, and Kindness

Caregivers.com | Simplifying the Search for In-Home Care

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The amount generated from these “qualifying purchases” helps to maintain this site.

My Aging Parent Needs Help!: 7-Step Guide to Caregiving with No Regrets, More Compassion, and Going from Overwhelmed to Organized [Includes Tips for Caregiver Burnout]

Take Back Your Life: A Caregiver's Guide to Finding Freedom in the Midst of Overwhelm

The Conscious Caregiver: A Mindful Approach to Caring for Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself

Dear Caregiver, It's Your Life Too: 71 Self-Care Tips To Manage Stress, Avoid Burnout, And Find Joy Again While Caring For A Loved One

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved

The Art of Dying

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying

Providing Comfort During the Last Days of Life with Barbara Karnes RN (YouTube Video)

Preparing the patient, family, and caregivers for a “Good Death.”

Velocity of Changes in Condition as an Indicator of Approaching Death (often helpful to answer how soon? or when?)

The Dying Process and the End of Life

The Last Hours of Life

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The amount generated from these “qualifying purchases” helps to maintain this site.

Gone from My Sight: The Dying Experience

The Eleventh Hour: A Caring Guideline for the Hours to Minutes Before Death

By Your Side, A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home

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