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The Importance of the Registered Nurse’s Role in Medication Management

Older adults living in assisted living facilities often require assistance with medication management. A recent study analyzed the roles in assisted living medication management and satisfaction with unlicensed assisted personnel (UAP) as medication aides, a commonly used approach to decrease staffing expenses. The results of the study detail medication management roles, empirical confirmation of existing assisted living nursing profession standards, and satisfaction with the role of UAP as medication aide from all perspectives. A few clinical implications from the study were creating a supportive environment for medication aides (i.e., UAPs), the significance of the role of the Registered Nurse as a facilitator of assisted living medication management, and the necessity for collaboration and interprofessional team development across various settings.

The researchers found that the registered nurse is the ideal person to facilitate a holistic model of medication management in assisted living that connects the disharmony between the ideal social model from which assisted living originated and the actual medical necessities of assisted living residents that are the outcome of aging in place. Assisted living facilities should invest in registered nurse staffing in order to prevent the facility from having negative outcomes (such as unhappy residents and families, liability for adverse events, or citation), retain residents (such as keeping units full), retain staff (such as avoiding turnover costs), and encourage positive outcomes such as resident satisfaction, positive facility reputation, and high occupancy.