Administering medication in a care setting is a huge responsibility. Often, those who require frequent medication are on a number of different drugs already and this requires attention and precision when being delivered.
We hope to provide a simple guide for those working in Care so that they can be sure that they’re administering drugs safely.
When patients are being transferred into a Care Home there should be a designated person to ensure that there is an accurate listing of all their required medication. There should be the resident (or family member or carers), a pharmacist or other possible health care practitioners involved in the medication reconciliation.
Having an effective medicines policy ensures safety to patients and makes it clear when staff are accountable for correctly administering medication in Care. These policies should be frequently reviewed to make sure that they are up to date with current legislation. A policy should include such things as:
- information about resident’s medicines
- safeguarding policies
- medication reviews
- up-to-date records
- reporting and reviewing problems with administering medication
- ordering, storing, & disposing of medication
- assisting with self-administration of medication
- training required for employees administering medication
- covert drug administration
- employees supplying over the counter or homemade products to residents
Record-keeping and Relaying Information
Records should be kept up-to-date and accurate as stated in the Care Home Policy. Records should show:
- Resident details
- Residents’ care plan
- Residents’ Medicines Administration Records
- Record of any information about medicines that are communicated over text/email/phone/etc.
- Records of any transfer of residents and a summary of when medications have been administered outside of the Care Home
- The legislation requires records to be kept up-to-date and secure. They also need to be destroyed securely when the time comes.
Providing Support for Residents
Patients should be as involved as possible in the decisions made about their treatment. Decisions should be made with the patient’s best interests in mind but they should always be consulted on that too. Their feelings, beliefs, values and wishes should be respected and, if it is necessary, friends and family should be involved as well.
Medication reviews should be set out as part of a resident’s care plan and they should be conducted regularly. GPs should identify an individual that is responsible for medication reviews for residents. The individual should be assessed and they should have the right amount of experience and qualifications to make these decisions.
Medication reviews should involve patients, and/or family members or friends and a health/social care practitioner.
Supplying and Dispensing Drugs
Pharmacies should have a standard that is in place for staff who dispense medication in Care to ensure the dosage of medication is correct.
Care homes should do what is best for each individual patient regarding supplying medicines to them. Where it is possible, residents should be administering their own medication in order to maintain their independence.
Patients Taking Medicines
Patients should always be taking their own medication unless a risk assessment has identified this as unsafe. The risk assessment must be conducted to see if a resident is capable of taking their medication themselves or not, the assessment should include:
- Whether administering it themselves is a risk to them or to others
- Whether the correct dosage is being taken at the right time
- How the medication is stored
- How often to conduct an assessment, and
- Who is the responsible person working with the patient for their care plan
Care Home Staff Administering Medication
Medication should only be administered if stated so in a patients care plan and the care workers doing so should be trained and competent to do so.
When administering medication, employees need to remember the 6 Rights of Administration - Right resident, right medicine, right route, right dose, right time and the right to refuse. Staff should also consider:
- Record keeping
- When the residents eat and sleep
- A patient’s refusal to take medication
- Reporting errors and reactions to medication
- How to administer a variety of different medication and the correct equipment
- Medication plans when the residents go on a trip away from the home
- Evaluating the effect of medicines on a patient
- Safeguarding Residents
Everyone working in Care should know how to notify the relevant authorities - Care Quality Commission - for any medicine related safeguarding incidents. How to deal with these incidents should be written in the Care Home's Medicine Policy. All cases of medicine-related incidents should be recorded, even 'near misses'.
Any bad reactions to medicines should also be reported by Care Home Staff to people that prescribe the medicine to stop a bad reaction from reoccurring.
Effort should also be made to find the root cause of the incident to prevent it from happening again.
Following these simple steps is a good place to start for providing the best possible support for those in Care. But remember this guide does not provide an exhaustive list of how you can best care for residents and there are other parts of the job that are essential for those working in Care.