Using structured clinical feedback to encourage alternatives to use of "p.r.n." medication in a state psychiatric hospital

Ross Friedman, Jeffry R. Nurenberg, Shira Birnbaum, Steven J. Schleifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective. The study examined whether reductions in the use of pro re nata (p.r.n.) psychotropic medications could be achieved in a large public-sector psychiatric hospital, without adverse behavioral consequences, by disseminating a database that tracks p.r.n. use to clinical teams. Methods. A performance improvement project was implemented over 28 months, involving all 166 patients in one section of a state psychiatric hospital. A spreadsheet tracking p.r.n. administration for each patient was provided weekly to unit treatment teams. Clinical outcome monitoring focused on the number of p.r.n. administrations and on p.r.n. "events," defined as ≥ 3 multiple administrations per week and ≥ 10 per month. Episodes of patient seclusion, restraint, and violent incidents were also monitored. Results. From September 2008 to December 2010, with a stable patient population census, total monthly administrations of psychotropic p.r.n. medications decreased from 642 to 240; administrations of non-psychotropic "medical" p.r.n. agents also decreased, from 279 to 72. In year-by-year comparisons, significant decreases (p < 0.05) were observed in the total number of psychotropic and medical p.r.n. administrations, in weekly as well as monthly p.r.n. events, and in the number of patients receiving any p.r.n. administrations. There was no change from 2008 to 2010 in the number of violent incidents; the use of both seclusion and restraint decreased (p < 0.05). Conclusion. The findings suggest that p.r.n. use can be reduced safely through timely feedback of relevant clinical data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-387
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of psychiatric practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • inpatient psychiatry
  • p.r.n. medication use
  • restraint
  • seclusion
  • violence


Dive into the research topics of 'Using structured clinical feedback to encourage alternatives to use of "p.r.n." medication in a state psychiatric hospital'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this