Administration of PRN medications and use of nonpharmacologic interventions in acute geropsychiatric settings: implications for practice

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version



Despite the known risks and the widespread administration of PRN (pro re nata or "as needed") psychotropic medications in inpatient settings, little is known about their use with hospitalized older adults. This exploratory descriptive study examined the use of PRN psychotropic medications and nonpharmacologic interventions to manage symptoms in older adults hospitalized in two acute care geropsychiatric settings. A retrospective chart audit was conducted. A major finding was the lack of documentation regarding PRN administration. In 81.3% of cases at Site A and 55.3% of cases at Site B, no reason for administration was documented. No medication response was documented in 92.4% of cases at Site A and 47.5% of cases at Site B. No nonpharmacologic interventions were documented for 69% of Site A patients or 64% of Site B patients. To ensure patient safety and to inform best clinical practice, the lack of documentation surrounding administration of PRN medications and nonpharmacologic interventions must be resolved.


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Drug Administration Schedule, Female, Geriatric Psychiatry/methods, Humans, Inpatients, Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data, Male, Medical Audit/methods/statistics & numerical data, Mental Disorders/drug therapy/nursing/therapy, Middle Aged, Midwestern United States, Psychiatric Nursing/methods, Psychotropic Drugs/administration & dosage, Retrospective Studies

Published Article/Book Citation

Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 18:2 (2012) pp.82-90. DOI:10.1177/1078390312438768.

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