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Medicines: information for all adult social care services

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These pages have replaced the adult social care medicines FAQs.

These are some of the key points from the NICE guidance about administration of medicines for adults in community settings.
There will be times when people spend time away from their residential care setting. When this happens, it is vital to consider the safe continuity of medicines supply.
Gabapentin and pregabalin are now Schedule 3 controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, and Class C of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Covert administration is when medicines are administered in a disguised format.
All care settings should have a written policy for the safe disposal of surplus, unwanted or expired medicines.
This information reflects new International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative guidelines adopted from 1 April 2018.
During end of life care, one clinician should be responsible for a person’s medicines. This will depend on where the person lives but would usually be their GP. In some cases, hospice teams may give support.
Enteral feeding tubes provide access to the stomach or jejunum (small intestine). They are usually used in cases where there is an obstruction or difficulty in swallowing.
External medicines can include creams, ointments, lotions and patches.
You will need to use a fluid administration chart if a person is at risk of dehydration.
Sharps injuries are a well-known risk in the health and social care sector. Sharps contaminated with an infected patient's blood can transmit more than 20 diseases, including hepatitis B, C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Anticoagulants are used to prevent the blood from clotting as normal and are therefore used to treat and prevent blood clots.
Insulin is a hormone which helps to regulate metabolism and lowers blood glucose levels.
Lithium salts are usually used as mood stabilisers, for example, in the management and treatment of mania, hypomania and recurrent depression, in bipolar disorder and sometimes for aggressive behaviour.
Sodium valproate and valproic acid are known collectively as valproate. Brands include Epilim, Depakote, Convulex, Episenta, Epival, Kentlim, Orlept, Syonell and Valpaland. There are other generic brands.
Oxygen has been widely used medically for many years. It is a gas and you should treat it as a medicine.
Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are used to prevent seizures. This can include seizures caused by epilepsy as well as non-epilepsy seizures.
Medicines optimisation looks at how people use medicines over time. Medicines reconciliation and medication reviews play an integral part in medicine optimisation.
Medicines support is any support that enables a person to manage their medicines. These are some of the key points from the NICE guidance about managing medicines for adults in community settings.
You might use a range of different MCAs in adult social care settings. They should not be the first choice intervention to help people manage their medicines.


Last updated:
02 December 2019


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