Blood Pressure Monitoring

A Tuesday Tip recently sent us this question about blood pressure monitoring in a California RCFE:

“A resident in an RCFE would like to have her Blood Pressure monitored daily. No written order from her physician. As caregivers in a non-medical facility, are we allowed to take and monitor the blood pressure? Whether we are allowed or not to do such a procedure, where in Title 22 can I find this information?”

This is a great question, but unfortunately the RCFE regulations do not provide a clear answer. There is however, some clarification found in the Medication Self-Assessment Guide available on the CCL website. The guide states:

“The following persons are allowed to take blood pressure and pulse readings to determine the need for medications:

  • The client/resident when his/her physician has stated in writing that the client/resident is physically and mentally capable of performing the procedure.
  • A physician or registered nurse.
  • A licensed vocational nurse under the direction of a registered nurse or physician.
  • A psychiatric technician under the direction of a physician, surgeon, psychiatrist, or registered nurse. Psych Techs may take blood pressure and pulse readings of clients/residents in any community care licensed facility.”

So, if the blood pressure is taken to determine whether or not to give a particular medication there are restrictions, as described above, on who can take the reading. Otherwise, trained and competent caregivers are allowed to take blood pressure for general monitoring purposes. It is important that you have a clear policy and procedure on this, and that your staff understand the policy.

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