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Measuring doses

Watch the video to learn more about the correct way to measure creams and ointments for residents.
Tablets and capsules are examples of solid single dosage forms. This means that when you give one amlodipine 5mg tablet to a resident, they will always receive 5mg of amlodipine. However, liquids and creams are not single dose preparations; the dose the resident receives depends on how much you administer to them. This section will be looking at accurately measuring doses of liquids.
The four methods of measuring liquids are: Measuring spoon, syringe, measuring cup and a dropper. Before administering a liquid medicine, it is important to shake the bottle to ensure that the medicine is evenly distributed throughout. When using a spoon it’s very important that you only use a medicine spoon that is supplied with the medicine and not just any spoon that you have in the setting as the volume will vary on the size of the spoon used medicine spoons have been manufactured to hold a 5 mil dose some spoons will also measure 2.5 ml. To administer a 5 ml dose, measure out a level spoonful and swallow the medicine from the spoon.
If more than 5 ml is required then you should repeat the process 10 ml would be two level spoonfuls, 20 ml would be four level spoonfuls. An oral syringe is a special measuring device used to accurately measure small doses of liquid medicine. When using an oral syringe to administer a liquid medicine to a resident, remember to shake the bottle first to ensure the drug particles are evenly dispersed in the bottle. Firstly pull the plunger back to the required measure point, drawing air into the syringe, then place the bun which comes with the oral syringe into the top of the bottle and ensure there is a tight fit.
Now push the syringe into the top of the bun, again ensuring a tight fit. Push the air from the syringe into the bottle, turn the bottle upside down so that the liquid is at the bang end and pull out the required amount of medicine with a syringe. If you don’t push air into the bottle first then you may find it hard to pull the liquid out. Take the syringe out of the medicine bottle then gently place the tip of the syringe into the resident’s mouth, just inside their cheek. Gently push the plunger of the syringe down to dispense the medicine into the mouth.
Allow the resident to swallow the medicine, avoid pushing the plunger down forcefully or placing the medicine at the back of the resident’s throat, this may cause them to choke, take the syringe out of the mouth. Measuring cups are particularly useful when you have to administer larger volumes of liquid medicines, for example 10, 20 or even 30 ml. If using a measuring cup, make sure you are familiar with the graduated markings on the cup before measuring your medicine. When you’re confident at which line you need to measure to, carefully pour the liquid into the cup so that the liquid reaches the mark of the cup.
To accurately measure a dose, you need to be at eye level with the meniscus the meniscus is a curve seen at the top of the liquid in relation to the container. To accurately measure a dose, the bottom of the meniscus needs to be on the line. When measuring the dose, it is important that once measured, the liquid is swallowed from the cup. Some medicines such as Nystan and cipramil drops require the medicine to be administered via a dropper. Sometimes the dropper has a dose for example 1 ml that you measure then administered to the patient. Gently squeeze the bulb to allow the dropper to fill to the required dose, then gently squeeze into the mouth.
Other medicines require you to administer medicines as a number of drops. Oral drops should be allowed to fall on the back of the tongue, don’t allow the resident to bite or suck the dropper as they could damage the dropper, preventing you from administering an accurate dose on subsequent occasion. Don’t forget to wash up the spoons, the measuring cups, the syringes after administering the dose to the resident.

So we know it’s the right medicine at the right time, but how do we actually measure the dose to be given? This is challenging when the dose to be administered is a liquid. This video demonstrates the correct measuring dosages of liquids.

There is some key information in this video but remember, you can come back to, pause or replay the video as you need.

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Medicine Administration for Carers

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