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Handwritten medicine administration records (MARs)

  • Organisations we regulate

Poor record keeping can put people receiving medicines support and care workers at risk.

Social care providers must securely maintain accurate and up-to-date records about medicines for each person receiving medicines support. This is required under The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

NICE states that MARs should be legible and include:

  • the full name, date of birth, and any known allergies
  • details of any medicines the resident is taking, including the name of the medicine and its strength, form, dose, how often it is given and where it is given (route of administration)
  • any special instructions about how the medicine should be taken (such as before, with or after food)

Care homes

Care home providers should make sure that a new, handwritten medicines administration record is produced only in exceptional circumstances. It must be created by a member of care home staff with the training and skills for managing medicines. The new record should be checked for accuracy and signed by a second trained and skilled member of staff before it is first used.

NICE guidance: managing medicines in care homes

Home care

Care workers should record each time they provide medicine support. This must be for each individual medicine on every occasion. The record can look different to a standard MAR. But it should be a clear record of all support provided, for each medicine. Handwritten MARs should only be made and checked by people who are trained and assessed as competent to do so. How handwritten records are made should be covered in the medicines policy.

NICE guidance: managing medicines for adults receiving care in the community

Last updated:
28 April 2020