Q Are range orders for pain medication allowed by the Joint Commission standards?

A Beth Glassford, RN, MSHA, FACHE, replies:

The Joint Commission’s 2008 Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals (CAMH) defines range orders as those orders in which the dose or dosing interval varies over a prescribed range, depending on the situation or a patient’s status. The medication management (MM) standards, and specifically MM. 3.20, elements of performance 6 and 13, require the hospital to specify the required elements of various types of medication orders that it deems acceptable for use.1 The organization should have a policy on range orders and that policy should be implemented. The standard does not limit or prohibit range orders. The organization would define a complete range order and then would be surveyed relative to its own policy regarding range orders.

Many organizations have found a lack of consistency among nursing staff in the...

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