Medication Policy in Care Homes
Care Quality Commission Position
Regulation 12 of the Health and Social Care Act (Regulated Activities) 2008, refers to the proper and safe management of medicines. It therefore becomes incumbent for providers to have in place a safe and effective medication policy.
There are two important safeguards that care providers must make sure are in place to protect the people they care for:
- A written policy and procedure for the administration of medicines, which is monitored and audited to make sure that care workers follow safe practice.
- Care home staff have the correct level of training and have their competency assessed before giving any medicines.
What Should a Medication Policy Contain?
The policies and procedures for medicine administration should explain to care home staff what to do and how to do it safely. The document should take account of current legislation; official reports, guidelines, recommendations and professional codes of practice. The policy should be embedded in day to-day practice and as a minimum, and should contain:
- A procedure to assess competence of staff to administer medicines safely including staff training
- A procedure for administration of medication
- What records are held.
- How medicines are obtained for residents
- How medicines are stored, centrally and for self-administration
- Obtaining residents consent if care home staff give medicines
- Procedure to assess self-administration
- Procedures for providing medicines when residents take ‘leave’
- How to deal with medication errors and incidents
- How to dispose of medicines
- Treatment of minor ailments
- Covert administration of medication
- Disguising medicines in food or drink.
- Information on fridge items and monitoring fridge temperatures
Monitoring and Auditing
Medication reviews must be part of, and align with, people’s care and treatment assessments, plans or pathways and should be completed and reviewed regularly when their medication changes. (NICE 2015).
Audit Adherence to the medicines policy is very important which should be audited on a regularly basis and at least annually. Results of the audit should be disseminated to relevant staff in the care home and any necessary actions should be taken as a result of the audit.
Medication Audit Tool
A medication audit tool should be used by staff to closely monitor the accurate dispensing of Service Users medication in line with the services policy or procedure on medication.
Demonstrating Good Practice
Given that the policy and procedure for medicine administration should explain to care workers what to do and how to do it safely. The care home should be able to provide evidence to support that:
- Care workers have read and understood the policy?
- The principles of the policy are part of everyday practice in the care home?
- The individual’s choice features in arrangements for medicine administration.
- The care provider supports people to look after their own medicines?
- A person’s consent is obtained and recorded when care workers give medicines?
- Care workers are trained and assessed as competent before they are expected to give medicines.
- The handing of medication errors, have been handled correctly
- Medication policies are monitored and audited
Bettal Quality Consultancy Quality Consultancy supply medication policies and procedures to care services.
The Management of Medicines in Care Homes: NICE 2015
The Administration of Medicines in Care Homes: NHS Yorkshire and Humberside Commissioning Support 2015.
Development of Medicines Policies in Care Homes: NHS Oxford Commissioning Group 2013
Standards for Medicines Management: Nursing Midwifery Council 2015