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Nurse Delegation of Medication Pass in Assisted Living Facilities: Not All Medication Assistant Technicians Are Equal

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In assisted living facilities (ALFs), unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) known as medication assistant technicians (MATs) are on the forefront administrating medication. ALFs are regulated by their respective state, not by the federal government. Requirements for the medication pass and nurse (RN/LPN) delegation vary state by state. This nationwide study identified states that use MATs (n = 32), states that do not use MATs (n = 16), and states that have a pilot program to evaluate the role of MATs (n = 2). The highlights of this investigation outline the limited consistency between state program requirements for MATs, disclosing extensive variations within classroom, clinical, and UAP experience requirements as a prerequisite for MAT preparation. This lack of congruency should be a matter of serious concern for both public protection with providing safe, ethical care and for nurses who are liable. Nurses have the ability to change health care policy by being proactive toward legislative changes within their state Nurse Practice Act (NPA) to support nationwide regulation of medication assistants.
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Keywords: ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES; ETHICS; MEDICATION AIDE TRAINING; MEDICATION ERROR; NURSE DELEGATION; PATIENT SAFETY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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