Managing pain medications in long-term care: nurses' views
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The purpose of this study was to explore nurses' perceptions of their current practices related to administering pain medications to long-term care (LTC) residents. A cross-sectional survey design was used, including both quantitative and open-ended questions. Data were collected from 165 nurses (59% response rate) at nine LTC homes in southern Ontario, Canada. The majority (85%) felt that the medication administration system was adequate to help them manage residents' pain and 98% felt comfortable administering narcotics. In deciding to administer a narcotic, nurses were influenced by pain assessments, physician orders, diagnosis, past history, effectiveness of non-narcotics and fear of making dosage miscalculations or developing addictions. Finally, most nurses stated that they trusted the physicians and pharmacists to ensure orders were safe. These findings highlight nurses' perceptions of managing pain medications in LTC and related areas where continuing education initiatives for nurses are needed.
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