Patient Personality Affects Success of PRN Medication

Posted by Dr. El - January 10, 2011 - Communication, Medication issues - 4 Comments


Because of their personality styles, some nursing home residents don’t ask for their PRN (as needed, or “per request of the nurse”) pain medication when they need it.  The reasons for this vary:

Psychologist, finding the resident in pain:  “Why didn’t you tell the nurse?”

Passive:  “I didn’t want to bother her.”

Macho:  (grimacing) “I can handle pain.”

Forgetful:  “I can ask for pain medication?”


  • Counseling the passive or macho types about appropriate use of their pain medication

The forgetful person and those who don’t respond to counseling would fare better with:

  • a standing order (medications dispensed at a specific time) 


  • by having the nurse ask the resident if they’re in pain every time they’re eligible to get pain medication