Medicines care plans

Page last updated: 3 November 2022
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Care planning for anybody receiving support with their medicines in an adult social care setting is an important part of their journey. A medicines support care plan should detail how staff will support a person with their individual medicines.

The care plan should include details of both personal care and practical support. A good medicines care plan will include specific information relating to the health conditions being treated and the use of specific medicines, including 'when required' medicines, time-specific medicines and covert medicines. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidance for managing medicines in care homes and in community settings, which refer to care planning around medicines.

NICE guidance says that care staff should involve people in decisions about their treatment and care. People should get the support they need to help them to participate fully in making decisions

Points to consider

A medicines care plan should be:

Person-centred: Medicines care plans should contain relevant and accurate information about how to support a person to take their medicines. Their wishes should be central to this, or if they lack mental capacity staff should initiate a best interest decision on their behalf. The care plan should include known side effects of the medicines and any monitoring and review requirements.

Co-produced: Involving people and their families or carers ensures that the medicines care plan includes information on people’s preferences. It is important to consider how people like to take their medicines. For example, do they like to take them with water? Do they like to take them all together, or one by one?

Reviewed regularly: Staff should be aware of any potential side effects and any monitoring that might be necessary. It is also important to record when medicines reviews have taken place and any outcomes from those reviews.

Individual: A person’s care plan must be individual to them and should identify their medicines support needs. This may range from prompting or reminding a person to take a medicine or helping them to do so by opening the packet and popping out the tablets, through to administering the medicine itself.

Condition-specific: Medicines care plans should include relevant information relating to people's health conditions including when to monitor a person's condition or when rescue medicines might be needed. For example, there may be a separate care plan explaining how to manage medicines to control diabetes or seizures. The care plan may need additional information and input from external healthcare professionals and when to ask for further clinical advice and support.

Accessible: the language in a person’s care plan should be accessible and easy to read for all staff as well as the person themselves. Staff should record any adjustments a person needs to communicate in the person’s medicines support care plan. Care staff should identify issues that make it difficult for people to receive, understand or communicate information and record any adjustments to help this. Staff should consider these issues when seeking informed consent and make suitable adjustments. All providers of publicly funded adult social care must meet the Accessible Information Standard.

Promoting independence

Examples of how to support people include:

  • making adjustments when staff are using personal protective equipment (PPE). For example, wearing a face mask means a person is unable to lip-read if they are hard of hearing or a Deaf British Sign Language user. Staff may be able to access see-through face masks to assist with lip reading.
  • providing or using text phones or laptops with a large font. Consider people who may find it difficult to use or access digital methods of communication.
  • providing remote video link access to a registered interpreter for British Sign Language users.
  • making reasonable adjustments for people based on their needs, for example using Braille, screen readers or Makaton. Other reasonable adjustments may include the use of multi-compartment compliance aids.