Ear Administration

Review prescriber's medication order for

  1. Number of drops to instill and which ear is to receive medication. Compare MAR with order and medication label, and identify patient correctly.
  2. Perform hand hygiene, and arrange supplies at bedside. Apply clean gloves (if drainage is present).
  3. Warm medication by running warm water over the bottle (without damaging the label directions or allowing water to get into the bottle).
  4. Have patient assume side-lying position (if not contraindicated by patient's condition) with ear to be treated facing up, or patient may sit in chair or at the bedside. The nurse should stabilize the patient's head with his or her hand.
  5. For adults and children over age 3, gently pull the pinna up and back. In children age 3 or younger pull the pinna down and back.
  6. If cerumen or drainage occludes outermost portion of ear canal, wipe out gently with cotton-tipped applicator.
  7. Instill prescribed drops holding dropper 1 cm (½ inch) above ear canal.
  8. Ask patient to remain in side-lying position for 5 to 10 minutes. Apply gentle massage or pressure to tragus of ear with finger.
  9. At times, the prescriber orders insertion of portion of cotton ball into outermost part of canal. Do not press cotton into canal.
  10. Remove cotton after 15 minutes.
  11. Dispose of soiled supplies, remove gloves, and perform hand hygiene.
  12. Assist patient to comfortable position after drops are absorbed.
  13. Recorded drug administration and condition of ear canal.
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