When to use a PRN medication

Medicines with a PRN or ‘when required’ dose can be used to treat many different conditions, such as nausea, vomiting, pain, indigestion, anxiety or insomnia. People with long term conditions may also use them alongside required medicines.

What is required for PRN medications and protocols?

In these instances, it is a CQC requirement to give additional information to carers. This could be information such as what symptoms to look out for and how much of the PRN should be administered in a given timeframe.


How to create a PRN protocol

  1. Go to the Medication manager tab of a client’s profile and create a new medication schedule selecting PRN as the medication type. (if you need further help on creating a medication schedule for the first time, please see this article).

2. Select the route of the administration, this will be either the recommended route (i.e. oral for paracetamol) or you can select another route option (i.e. in the case the pill needs to be crushed and administered via PEG tube).

3. Select the shortest time between doses - I.e. 4 hours between doses.

4. Identify the maximum dose allowance during any given period. Say 4 total doses in 24 hours.

5. Reason medication is needed - this will allow you to associate it with a structured medical condition and then supplement with free-text addition details - i.e. the dentist prescribed this for a toothache to be taken to manage the client’s pain.

6. Circumstances when the medication should be administered, including specific symptoms to look out for and how the client would request to be given the PRN.

7. When you would need to liaise with the GP or prescriber - in the case the medication isn’t helping as planned, there are side effects etc.

8. Option to add a body map or any additional instructions on how to administer the PRN.

9. Once you are done, confirm the details before clicking ‘Yes, create schedule.’ You can also go back and edit an existing PRN medication and include this additional protocol information.

Once this is created, your care professional will be able to see this directly in the Birdie App!


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