The Negative Impact of Narcotic Regulations on Long Term Care Patients

1471 Words6 Pages
A family sits by their loved one in the last hours of his life, supporting him in his time of need. He has resided in a long-term care facility for the past two years. As his organs slowly shut down, his body succumbs to immense pain. He is sweaty, his brow is furrowed, and each time he is touched to be cared for he moans. The morphine doses prescribed to handle his pain are no longer effective. In order to provide this patient with the best care possible, his nurse tries to contact the physician. It is the weekend and the nurse is only able to page the on-call doctor. She anxiously awaits a return phone call, while explaining this situation to his distressed family. The pain appears to be increasing. Twenty minutes later the physician…show more content…
It is reported that at least 71% of elderly Residents living in long-term care facilities experience pain on a daily basis(Yukari, Noriko, & Okamoto, 2010). Pain is defined as the patient’s described experience to actual or potential tissue damage (Yukari, Noriko, & Okamoto, 2010). It is an issue in the care of any patient, because pain adversely affects the health of the patient. Not only is pain uncomfortable, it causes the release of specific hormones, adrenaline, and other chemicals that make healing difficult, if not impossible. It decreases patient mobility, leading to complications of secondary pneumonia and pressure ulcers (Yukari, Noriko, & Okamoto, 2010). It can have such a severe effect on the body that it may cause a shock like syndrome that can cause death (Yukari, Noriko, & Okamoto, 2010). For all of these reasons, pain management is paramount to any patient care plan. Nurses are obligated to attempt to control pain by the Code of Ethics for Nurses. When nurses are unable to offer pain control measures to patients in a timely manner an ethical dilemma is created. The nurse has a duty to self to preserve personal integrity by following the narcotic regulations (Guido, 2010). She also has a duty to assist the patient in controlling pain so that they may meet their personal health goals (Guido, 2010). If a nurse gives narcotic medications after a physician has ordered them without arrangements made

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