Thursday, January 13, 2011

CMS 30-minute rule for drug administration needs revision,

In our June 17, 2010 newsletter, we covered a precarious topic best known as the “30-minute rule”—a requirement in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Conditions of Participation Interpretive Guidelines to administer scheduled medications within 30 minutes before or after the scheduled time (see pages 174-175 at: In our July 2010 nursing newsletter, Nurse Advise-ERR, we asked frontline nurses who are most directly affected by the 30-minute rule to weigh in on the issue by completing a short survey. And WOW, did they ever! More than 17,500 nurses responded to our survey, providing more than 8,000 additional comments (see Table 1 on page 2 of the PDF version of the newsletter), making it very clear that the issue is of great significance to nurses.

Respondent profile and compliance rates
Almost half of the responding nurses work on medical/surgical units, and the other half work in critical care, telemetry, or specialty inpatient units. Most nurses feel that the 30-minute rule is unsafe, unrealistic, impractical, and virtually impossible to follow. Approximately three out of four respondents (70%) told us their organization enforces such a policy. Of these nurses, only five of every 100 (5%) were always able to comply with the policy, while more than half (59%) were infrequently or only sometimes compliant (see Graph 1 on page 6 of the PDF version of the newsletter). Why nurses find it difficult to comply with the 30-minute rule was expressed by many (see Table 2 on page 3 of the PDF version of the newsletter), including a nurse who sent a pragmatic yet eloquent account of a Day in the Life of a Nurse (see Sidebar that follows this article). 

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Andrew Lopez, RN
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1 comment:

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