What is a DAR note? (plus tips for writing them)

Jamie Frew
Jamie Frew

Nurses use DAR notes as a form of focus charting to record significant events or an acute change in the patient's condition that arises within patient care. ūüė∑

DAR is an acronym that stands for data, action, and response. 

Focus charting assists nurses in documenting patient records by providing a systematic template for each patient and their specific concerns and strengths to be the focus of care. 

DAR notes are often referred to without the F. It is always important to remember the note's focus, whether it's stated or not. The focus of the note is the subject or purpose for creating the documentation; one reason might be something like the nursing diagnosis. Event's that might require documentation such as an admission, discharge, or a change in the patient's condition such as acute pain or a shift in the patient's pathophysiology. 

As we know, the D in DAR charting refers to data. This section is similar to the frequently used SOAP notes. The data section requires gathering subjective data from the patient about their current state and care plan. Subjective data won't be visible to you, and you need to ask the patient about their experience. One way to ensure you are keeping truly subjective progress notes is to make direct quotes of their answers to ensure you are accurately depicting their answers. ūüé∂

The next part of the information needed is the objective data section. Objective refers to what you can see and observe. It's essential here to remember that the second half of the data is not your subjective opinion but rather try to be as neutral and professional as possible in your observations. Objective data may include vital signs, test results, and other assessment forms of the patient you may conduct within your documentation process. 

Action refers to the nursing interventions you conducted in response to the data gathered in the previous section. Some of the things you may include here could be administering medication, requesting the patient be seen by another healthcare professional or other medical care. 

The response is how the patient responded to the nursing care plan you actioned. This may not be documented for some time following the execution of the plan of care as the care plan may extend over minutes, hours, or even days. 

How do you write good DAR notes? 

Using DAR, anyone, even a first-year nursing student, can write good client notes. ūüßĎ‚Äćūüéď

The difficulty lies in writing GREAT DAR notes, which means writing concisely and efficiently. 

Make note-taking an easy part of your nursing process by using a Nursing software platform like Carepatron. Instead of using google docs or Microsoft to create a new document each time a note is required, you can access different templates within a simple app. This means you won't have to worry about formatting or forget to incorporate any aspects of your FDAR charting. In addition to this, using a software platform such as Carepatron will mean that you no longer need to worry about losing patient notes on your messy desktop. Finally, Carepatron has an AI-powered voice transcription capability which will reduce the time taken to create DAR notes. Helping to ensure you can stay up to date and spend the maximum amount of time with your patients. 

Best DAR example and templates

Without having access to examples and templates, it can be challenging to know what you are trying to achieve. We've created and compiled several different resources to help you write the best DAR notes. 

DAR Note Example # 1. 

Focus: Pain

Data: "Constant ache in the right leg," pain 7/10. Gasps and appears to be in a significant amount of pain when moved. Tramadol 30mg given at 1200 and has stated a noticeable reduction in pain. 

Action: Educated the patient on the pain scale and alternatives to the current method for pain relief. These included Oxycodone 5mg and Tylenol 1000mg in addition to breathing exercises. 

Response:¬†The patient states their pain has reduced to a 4/10 with current meds. The report was passed onto the primary nurse‚ÄĒsuggested need to swap to Oxycodone prn.¬†

DAR Note Example #2

Focus: Transfer following procedure 

Data: Received patient transfer post-procedure - thoracentesis. 

VS: HR 90, BP 130/90, O2 sat 97%. 

The patient was sleeping on their back with an assistance button in reach. 

Action: Administered Morphine 1mg IV and repositioned to the unaffected right side. 

Response: The patient remained dozing throughout. 

DAR Note Example 3

Focus: Patient vomiting 

Data: Patient requested medication for nausea in response to pain medication. The patient reports feeling nauseous and vomiting. 

Action: Administered ondansetron 10mg. 

Response: The patient reports feeling much better and has eaten since. 

Top benefits of DAR notes

The advantages to focus charting are threefold. They encourage habitual patient care documentation and progress, meaning you won't put your care notes off until the end of the week. You can note down the patient responses to care as they occur.ūüďĚ

Focus charting also helps nurses organize their documents to be concise and precise within their note-taking process. This means that any other practitioner who may come across the notes can quickly get up to date with the patient's care history. 

Finally, DAR notes are great because they can be adapted to online documentation systems with ease. Therefore, transferring patients' notes from their charts to an online software platform such as Carepatron can occur seamlessly. 

Common DAR note mistakes

Accurate and complete information is an integral part of providing the best care and demonstrating best practice as a nurse. To avoid treatment error or potential issues with malpractice liability, some common mistakes to avoid when authoring DAR notes are listed below: 

  • Documenting pertinent health or drug information incorrectly¬†
  • Failing to note discontinuation of medication¬†
  • Recording the DAR note on the wrong patient's chart¬†
  • Omitting a medication that has been administered¬†
  • Failing to complete the note altogether¬†

It's only natural to feel as though you are pressed for time in a healthcare setting. But making a mistake like one of these could result in a life or death situation for a patient or a possible malpractice liability for you. Using DAR notes religiously and a helpful software platform such as Carepatron will mean you are far less likely to make mistakes.

Create effortless DAR notes using Carepatron

Carepatron is the ultimate all-in-one tool to create, organize and store notes.

Unlike your old EHR or paper template, we don't hide it. Because we're proud of it! ūüėé

Use Carepatron for free¬†and create red-hot notes that nobody can resist! ūüĆ∂ÔłŹ

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