In this episode, I’ll discuss a tip to predict pharmacotherapy needs in rapid response or emergent situations.
At the beginning of any rapid response or emergent procedure such as rapid sequence intubation, make a note of your patient’s starting heart rate, rhythm, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure.
Any significant change in these vital signs could signal clinical deterioration and can serve as a prompt for you to obtain additional medications to serve the needs of the patient.
New-onset bradycardia and hypoxia during a difficult intubation may be a signal to obtain atropine or the code cart.
Tachycardia and hypotension may be a signal to obtain vasopressors and IV fluids.
A decreasing oxygen saturation may be a signal to obtain medications to facilitate intubation.
The reason this method of thinking helps your patients and your team is because it encourages you to predict the pharmacotherapy needs of the patient.
In a typical rapid response scenario without a pharmacist predicting these needs, there can be a significant lag time between when the physician decides to use a medication and the time a nurse can administer it.
But when a pharmacist predicts these medication needs, they can stage medications at the bedside ready to be used, and dispense them immediately to the nurse when the physician’s decision is made.
This reduction of medication administration lag time may be exactly what is needed to have a positive impact on the care of your patient.
Members of my Hospital Pharmacy Academy have access to practical training from a pharmacist’s point of view on code blue and rapid response participation, including how to predict a patient’s medication needs in these emergency scenarios, along with over 200 practical trainings and other resources to help in your practice. To get immediate access, go to pharmacyjoe.com/academy.
If you like this post, check out my book – A Pharmacist’s Guide to Inpatient Medical Emergencies: How to respond to code blue, rapid response calls, and other medical emergencies.