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Authors

  1. Heintz, Phyllis PhD, RN, CTN-B
  2. Buchholz, Malcolm BSN

Abstract

Critical care units serve the vital function of patient rescue through life-saving and life-preserving treatments. When an older patient's life hangs in the balance, preserving life takes priority over potential serious adverse drug events. There may be a tendency to consider transfer out of the unit as a less serious event; therefore, less attention is given to medication assessment. Often thought of by nurses as an almost clerical level task, the professional nurse plays a key role in identifying potentially harmful medications or medication combinations. If older patients remain on medications considered to be potentially dangerous, then patients are at risk for adverse drug events. Once the emergent nature of critical care interventions has passed, it is important to judiciously appraise patient status and conduct a medication assessment to discontinue or change the medication regimen to safer alternatives for older adults. Nurses can be instrumental in further research, education, and awareness for practitioners, patients, and families regarding the role of medications for older adults. Beers Criteria are not intended to be a clinical mandate, rather a designated as a clinical guideline with a clinical recommendation to support a provider's clinical judgment.