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Medicines support from home care agencies

  • Organisations we regulate

NICE released guidance in March 2017 on managing medicines for adults in community settings.

Medicines support

Medicines support is any support that enables a person to manage their medicines. In practical terms, this covers:

  • prompting or reminding people to take their medicines
  • helping people remove medicines from packaging
  • administering some or all of a person's medicines

There is no need to keep records when the person is managing their medicines themselves.

Assessing medicines support needs

You should assess what medicines support a person needs as part of their general assessment. Record the outcome of the assessment in the care plan.

Where a person needs support with their medicines, record these details in the care plan:

  • the person's needs and preferences
  • the person's expectations for confidentiality and advance care planning
  • how consent will be sought
  • details of who to contact about their medicines. This can be the person needing support or a contact they choose
  • what support they need for each medicine
  • how the medicines support will be given
  • who provides medicines support, particularly when more than one care provider is involved
  • when the medicines support will be reviewed, for example, after six weeks

Other important points:

  • staff who assess people's medicines support need to be trained and competent to do so
  • only take responsibility for people's medicines where the assessment indicates there is a need

Shared responsibilities for medicines support

Sometimes, family members will administer medicines. This could be on a day out or overnight stays elsewhere. If this is the case, agree in advance how they should record this. Include this agreement in the care plan and make it available to care staff.

Staff training and competency

You must give relevant training and support to care workers who provide medicines support. Care workers must "have the necessary knowledge and skills" and these should be updated annually. Care workers should undergo competency assessments, which include being observed.

Last updated:
02 December 2019