On Monday we held our our 2010 Assisted Living Medication Summit, and we heard from several presenters and speakers of an increase in narcotic thefts in communities around the country. While we do not have any hard statistics to confirm this, it does remind us of the importance of safeguarding narcotics in your community. The narcotic medications you are storing in your community can be sold for hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on the street. Here are some tips provided by Kimberley Garrison, RN, MSN, ARNP during her presentation at the Medication Summit:
1. Use a bound ledger book
Using a bound book for your narcotic ledge/count sheets prevents staff or other persons from removing pages from the book to hide narcotic theft.
2. Cross-check documentation
Look to see that the narcotic counts in your ledger match the number of doses documented in your PRN medication records.
3. Look for patterns
For example, if you notice that a resident only receive PRN pain medications when a certain staff member is on shift, talk with the resident to ensure he/she is actually requesting and receiving the medication.
4. Train your staff
At least one provider reported staff being held up at gun point by a thief trying to steal medications from the medication room. This serves as a stark reminder to train staff on workplace violence, safety, and emergency procedures.