A nurse working on the medical surgical floor is caring for an elderly patient who is confused. The patient is repeatedly trying to climb out of bed and is at high risk for falling. The patient has an order for lorazepam 0.5 mg PO every 8 hours as needed for anxiety. The nurse gives a dose of lorazepam to help make the patient drowsy so the patient will sleep and stop climbing out of bed. The nurse should know which of the following regarding use of this medication in this situation?

Using this medication as ordered for anxiety as needed is not appropriate in this situation because it is being used as a chemical restraint.

Explanation

•Doctors may order certain medications like lorazepam (Ativan) for patients who suffer from anxiety, but these medications have the potential to be used for other purposes.

•Medications used to treat anxiety will often "fall off" the patient's medication orders after 72 hours and will need to be reordered, but when a patient requires a chemical restraint, the order has to be renewed every 24 hours. All restraint orders must be renewed every 24 hours.

•If the nurse deems the patient to be a danger to their own safety or the safety of others, this should be discussed with the doctor. In this situation, the doctor will decide if any restraint, whether chemical or physical, is necessary.

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