Synchrony Health Services strives to make quality patient care a top priority and ongoing communication and collaboration across disciplines is paramount in the process. When it comes to pain management and improved mobility, use of muscle relaxants can be an effective treatment option.
Since drowsiness and dizziness are common side effects of muscle relaxants, nursing and the rehab teams are encouraged to request medications be reviewed by the consultant pharmacist, physician, or NP, especially if any concerning behaviors, over sedation, or inability to participate in therapy treatment sessions is observed. Discussion with the consultant pharmacist or the physician about increased risk of falls with certain medications should always be considered. Nursing and rehab teams are encouraged to continually observe, assess, and communicate when a resident is experiencing any increased functional difficulties during daily tasks or during therapy sessions. The consultant pharmacist can also be of assistance when trying to evaluate adverse side effects and potential alternate medications.
Nursing, the consultant pharmacist, and the rehab team should collaborate on the timing of the medications to minimize side effects that may impact the resident’s ability to participate in therapy. Scheduling muscle relaxants so that the patient can obtain the maximum benefit during therapy sessions promotes participation, progress toward functional outcomes, and customer satisfaction.
Medication management and the potential of resident self-administration of medication may be realized by increasing collaboration between nursing and rehab to educate patients on dosages and timing. Addressing cognition, vision, and fine motor deficits to promote safety and independence with self-administration through rehab when appropriate, can increase independence and adherence with the medication regimen.
Whether or not a resident is involved and self-administration of medication, education about potential side effects, increasing awareness, and encouraging residents and families to ask questions about prescribed medications should be team effort stemming from the consulting pharmacist, nursing, and reiterated by the rehab team. Working together to ensure medication adherence and effectiveness with muscle relaxants can improve functional outcomes and enhance quality of life for those in our care.