UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MEDICAL FOUNDATION
CLINICAL POLICY AND PROCEDURE
TITLE: ADMINISTERING RECTAL MEDICATIONS
Effective Date: May, 2002 Approval: See Authorization
Supersedes Protocol: None Contact: Clinical Staff Education
Reviewed October, 2003 March, 2005 March 2008 October 2011
PURPOSE: To provide guidelines for the administration of rectal medications at UWMF Clinics.
DEFINITION: Medication via the rectum exerts local effects (defecation or pain relief) from the medication and
provides a route for administering medications when other administration routes are contraindicated. The rectal route
should not used if the patient has had rectal surgery or is experiencing rectal bleeding.
POLICY: Clinical staff will utilize the following guidelines to administer rectal medications to UWMF patients. The
preparation and administration of a medication should be completed by the same person.
SUPPLIES: Provider’s order, Patient record, Medication(s), Gloves, Tissues, water soluble lubricant
1. Check each medication against provider’s order and clarify any inconsistencies.
2. Identify the patient: include date of birth and verify allergies.
3. Know medications actions, special considerations, safe-dose ranges, purpose of administration, and adverse effects.
4. Wash hands then gather equipment.
5. Prepare medication, adhering to the five rights of drug administration.
Right – drug, dose, time, route, patient
Check the expiration date of the medication
6. Provide good light and privacy by closing curtains or door.
7. Ask the patient when he or she had last had a bowel movement and note in record.
8. Provide patient education:
Explain medication(s), reason(s) for the medication(s), and administration technique to patient
Explain sensations to expect during administration (pressure, urge to have bowel movement, etc.).
9. Put on examination gloves.
10. Help patient to left lateral position with the right leg sharply flexed. (The supine position could be used with the
client’s legs flexed if the side-lying position is uncomfortable or contraindicated.) Place a chux under the patient’s
11. Stand behind the patient so that you face the patient’s back.
12. Remove the suppository from the wrapper and leave it on the wrapper.
13. Separate patient’s buttocks.
14. Inspect the anal area for hemorrhoids or bleeding and note in patient’s record.
15. Place a sufficient amount of water-soluble lubricant on the suppository and index finger.
16. Ask the patient to open and breathe through his or her mouth.
17. Tell the patient that you are going to insert the suppository.
18. Gently insert the suppository into the rectum (4 inches for an adult and 2 inches for a child), against the rectal mucosa.
19. Gently compress buttocks together.
20. Ask the patient to retain the suppository for a specified amount of time.
21. Assist the patient to a position of comfort.
22. Evaluate the patient for the expected results of the medication administered.
23. Document (Progress Notes in HealthLink utilizing SmartPhrase: .medinclinic)
Manufacture, Lot #, Expiration date (as indicated)
VIS# (if applicable)
Name, dosage, route of medication, and time given
Assessment and laboratory results relevant to purpose of the medication
Effects of the medication on patient
Teaching about the drug or administration technique
How patient tolerated procedure, i.e., desired effect, adverse reactions
24. Check on patient to ensure that allergic reaction is not occurring.
25. Perform discharge teaching regarding medications.
REVISED BY: Carol Decker, RN, MSN, Clinical Staff Educator
REVIEWED BY: LaVay Morrison, RN, BSN, Clinical Staff Educator
WRITTEN BY: Ronnie Peterson, R.N., M.S., Manager of Clinical Support
Kowalak, J. P. (Ed.). (2009). Lippincott’s nursing procedures (5th ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Perry, A.G. & Potter, P.A. (2002). Clinical nursing skills & techniques. (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Perry, A.G. & Potter, P.A. (2009). Fundamentals of nursing. (7th ed.). Hall, A. & Stockert, P.A. (Eds.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby
Medical Director Date