Resident personality affects success of PRN medication


Because of their personality styles, some nursing home residents don't ask for their PRN (as needed, or "per request of the nurse") pain medication when they need it. The reasons for this vary, based on the following types of responses.

Psychologist, finding the resident in pain: “Why didn't you tell the nurse?”

Passive: “I didn't want to bother her.”

Macho: (grimacing) “I can handle pain.”

Forgetful: “I can ask for pain medication?”



· Counsel the passive or macho types about the appropriate use of their pain medication.

The forgetful person and those who don't respond to counseling would fare better with:

· a standing order (medications dispensed at a specific time)


· the nurse asking the resident if they're in pain every time they're eligible to get pain medication

Dr. Barbera is an author and a licensed psychologist consulting in long-term care facilities in the New York City area. She frequently lectures on subjects related to psychology, aging, and nursing homes. Dr. Barbera is available for private consulting with organizations, institutions, and individuals around eldercare issues. Visit her personal blog at .

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