Reduce Transmission of COVID-19. During this emergency, it is important to take all precautions to reduce transmission of COVID-19. While we are actively working to increase infection control practices and maximize physical distancing, as health care professionals, we must continue to provide care for our residents as well as ensure that they are receiving the medications they need.
Reducing the frequency of medication administration is one additional way to help reduce direct physical contact and potentially reduce transmission of COVID-19.
Here are some tips for evaluating potential areas of opportunity to impact frequency of medication administration:
- Reduce Direct Contact: Implement the most efficient strategy to administer medications including reducing the number of direct contact opportunities with a resident.
- Aside from medications that need specific administration times, determine which medications in a resident’s regimen may be given at the same times to reduce the amount of close contact with the resident.
- For medications that are dosed multiple times a day, consider switching to a long-acting formulation or another agent that can be given less frequently to reduce the frequency of administration.
- Respiratory Medication Administration Safety: If a resident has suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and is on nebulizer therapy, switch to a metered dose inhaler (MDI) with a holding chamber or spacer if appropriate and available.
- Those on nebulized bronchodilators may be more likely to cough or wheeze due to air flow obstruction. If a resident with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 must remain on nebulizer therapy, be sure to wear appropriate personal protective equipment when administering their medication. Additionally, consider using a mask for the resident instead of a mouthpiece with the nebulizer.
- If a resident may switch to a metered dose in haler, ensure that the resident is able to comply with administration requirements.
- Pharmacy Collaboration: Safely collaborate with the consultant pharmacist, medical director, director of nursing, and providers to determine if any medications can be deprescribed.
- Consultant pharmacists can assist in the identification of medications that may be considered non-critical.
- Assess any PRN medications that are not utilized and determine if they are able to be discontinued.
- Consider discontinuing any medications that provide minimal clinical benefit or are safe to temporarily discontinue (multivitamins, calcium, herbal medications, etc.)
- Reduce monitoring of medication efficacy or discontinue medications that require frequent monitoring, if appropriate.