Older people in nursing homes form one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. Their medical and support needs are increasingly complicated: Most care home residents are over 85 years old and have multiple comorbidities, including dementia and frailty (Office for National Statistics, 2014; British Geriatrics Society, 2011). Many rely on nursing home staff to meet their everyday needs, including taking prescription medicines (Centre for Policy on Ageing, 2012), so it is important to adopt appropriate medication procedures in care homes (Alldred et al, 2009). To reduce the risk of harm associated with medicine administration, it is recommended that care home staff undertake appropriate training and development and that care home providers are clear on staff’s roles and responsibilities (National Care Forum, 2013; 2011).
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2014) has published guidance on all aspects of managing medicines in nursing homes. However, the role of healthcare assistants in administering medicines to residents of care homes is poorly documented, and the question of whether they should be performing this task has been raised by managers and staff. Often the concern is whether administering medicines is legal or appropriate, especially if there is a registered nurse in the care home.
Some key points include:
- Nurses can delegate the administration of medicines to a care assistant, but they are accountable for making sure those medicines are administered correctly
- Care workers should only administer medicines they have been trained and are competent to give
- Any HCA accepting the delegated task must take responsibility for ensuring their actions are carried out safely and correctly
To read the full set of guidelines, click on the following link: http://bit.ly/2nsDfG0
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