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Senior woman and caregiver sitting on sofa at home

What Is the Purpose of the 5 Rights of Medication Management?

Senior caregivers have many responsibilities but one of the most critical is administering medication for a family member. It requires organization and scheduling. It also involves checking to see that the medication is correctly prescribed.

Nursing education provides instruction on rules for clinical medication administration and how to protect patients safely. It’s called the “five rights.”

The sequence for the five traditional rights is:

  • Right patient. A nurse will directly ask a patient or resident to give their full name aloud. They will also check medical wristbands.
  • Right drug. The nurse will make sure the medication that’s being administered is identical to the drug name that was prescribed. Poor handwriting, abbreviations, and generic prescription names account for many medical errors. At this stage, the nursing provider might also check the expiration date of the drug and ask patients about any known allergies.
  • Right route. From oral and intramuscular, to intravenous and topical, medications can be given to patients in a variety of ways. Today’s medication administration is often even more complicated with the development of drugs that are administered through newer ways like central venous catheters and epidural infusions. Nurses must remain educated and on top of these advanced methods to ensure they are safely delivering them to patients.
  • Right time. Medications should be given as closely to the time that was intended as possible. Certain drugs have exact time intervals in which a dose should be administered to a patient. When a drug is not given at the correct time, it can cause harmful consequences for the patient. Be aware of dosing frequency as well. Some medicine may be prescribed to be taken two or more times a day.
  • Right dose. An error in dosage can occur if the caregiver does not first check to make sure the prescription is the correct strength for the patient. Misplaced decimals, errors in arithmetic, or incorrect conversion between two units are mistakes that can happen on the pharmacy level.

It’s easy to see why the five rights of medication management are important. Improper administration of medication can lead to harmful errors and lessen the effectiveness of the treatment for seniors.

At Moweaqua Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, our professional health caregivers are trained in medication management and can help you or your loved one safely adhere to the correct prescription schedule. Our care services are enhanced by freshly prepared meals, meaningful activities, inviting surroundings and friendly staff. It’s everything you need to feel good about your life. For more information, please call us at 217-768-3951.