masking meds in dementia care?? Thoughts

Home Forums Nurse to Nurse Advice masking meds in dementia care?? Thoughts

This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of sally45121 sally45121 3 years, 3 months ago.

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    My current facility prohibits masking meds even for the demntia patients,even with family consent,and a physicians order. Previous facilities had other policies. I’m interested in your various positions on this subject.

    Profile photo of Teri Starkey
    Teri Starkey

    By masking meds are you talking about things like crushing and putting in pudding or ice cream to get them to take them? If so, then yes we mask them anytime the patient is not cognitive of anything around him/her, if they tend to hide them in their cheeks, or if would otherwise spit them out.

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    Until there is a cure for dementia the only option is to treat the symptoms. Even the medication designed to treat the disease is not very effective in slowing down the disease. Where as many other illnesses masking the symptoms may be a deadly response. We have a duty to do no harm. Example, If a medication is prescribed then the medication needs to be given as indicated although we have the duty as a nurse if this medication would cause harm to the patient to refuse to give it. This may cost you your job but as a nurse you have upheld the oath. On the other hand, by not treating the symptoms you are causing a patient pain or discomfort and the patient has not made previous arrangements as a nurse you have a duty to treat. After trying approved therapies you have need to notify the patients PCP. If the MD and facility refuses to treat the patient then the patient and family have the option to go to another facility. If you feel that theses practice are against your moral judgments you may need to make a arrange to find another Job. It sounds like this facility and the patients MD may be in danger of a malpractice suit . For refusing to treat causing harm to a patient. But as a nurse you have the obligation to try everything in your scope of practice and the law to help the patient and family according to their beliefs. In your case you need to research if this patient has previously consented to have medication with held and if so an order can changed at anytime. The process to change this order may be different from state to state. I believe if you are medicating a patient so you don’t have to deal with the patient is always wrong but all situations are different. If the patient needs more care than what the facility can provide then they should go to somewhere that can meet their needs.


    In my facility, we absolutely may not hide medications in food, etc. without a patient’s or conservator’s consent. That is illegal. If the patient has a conservator because the patient is deemed incompetent by the court, then the conservator may consent for their meds to be hidden in food.

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