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5 Rights of Medication Delivery

Updated July 19, 2017

Health care professionals such as physicians and nurses must be aware of the Five Rights of Medication Administration every time they give medications to patients. The rights are designed to prevent errors and ensure that patients receive the proper, effective levels of medication.

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Right Patient

Identify the patient every time you go to give medication to that person. It isn't enough to just ask the patient his or her name. According to Helium com, the person may be confused or their level of consciousness may be altered due to medication or a surgical procedure. Check the patient's wristband and check it against the Medication Administration Record (MAR) to make sure you have the correct patient.

Right Drug

Medication errors have occurred because the drug names can sound alike or look alike. Double and triple check the medication with the orders in the MAR. You will be ensuring that even a generic equivalent is the correct medication. You can also consult a resource such as "Davis' Drug Guide," the "Nursing 2009 Drug Handbook" or the "Nurse's Pocket Drug Guide."

Right Dose

Check several times to make sure you have the correct dose. Capsules or tablets come in a variety of dosages; some may be more than what was ordered. For example, if the dose was ordered at 20 milligrams but the tablets come in 40-milligram tablets, you will need to cut the tablets in half. If the orders call for 10 millilitres of a liquid medication, make sure you measure correctly.

Right Route

Make sure that the way the medication is ordered is the way that it's given. For example, if the medication was ordered to be given orally (PO), do not give it as an intravenous (IV) infusion. Per Helium com, if the medication is ordered as an intramuscular (IM) injection, make sure that the correct needle length is used. For an oral medication, stay in the room and make sure the patient takes it.

Right Time

Medications must spaced out according to the MAR. If the orders call for the medication to be given every four hours, make sure four hours have passed since the last dose. Some flexibility is allowed; for example, most medications can be given 30 minutes before or after the scheduled time. Document any variations so future doses can be adjusted accordingly.

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About the Author

Jennifer Sobek has been a writer since 1993, working on collegiate and professional newspapers. Her writing has appeared in the "Copperas Cove Leader Press," "Fort Lewis Ranger," "Suburban Trends" and "The Shopper News," among others. Sobek has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Rowan University.

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