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Ordering, transporting, storing and disposing of medicines by home care agencies

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

These are some of the key points from the guidance.

The person receiving medicines support (or their family/carer) will usually be responsible for ordering, transporting, storing and disposing of medicines. But, if you take on this responsibility, you need to have appropriate processes in place.

When assessing medicines support, you should discuss storage, transport and disposal of medicines. Record the outcome of this assessment in the care plan.

Ordering and Transport of medicines

If you are responsible for ordering medicines, you should identify and record:

  • name, strength and quantity of medicine ordered
  • date of order
  • date medicines were received
  • discrepancies between what was ordered and received

If you are responsible for transporting medicines, complete a risk assessment. You may need to consider the needs of cold chain medicines and medicines which are liable to misuse (such as controlled drugs). This is especially relevant if you're not going straight from the supplying pharmacy to the person’s home. For example, you may have other support calls to make in between.

Storage of medicines

Agree with the person how they will store medicines. Record this in the care plan. Review this agreement at intervals appropriate for the person. This is particularly important where a person has declining or fluctuating mental capacity.

If you store medicines, your processes should cover safe and appropriate access. You could consider:

  • who has access to medicines
  • how to store them safely or securely
  • fridge storage (where needed)

Where a person stores medicines in their own home, they do not need a separate medicines fridge. You need to check that any fridge used to store medicines is in working order. You do not need to check the temperature every day (as would be done in a care home).

Disposal of medicines

Agree with the person how they will dispose of medicines. Record this in the care plan. The person should usually return unused or unwanted medicines to a community pharmacy.

You need processes for disposing of medicines which need special considerations. This includes controlled drugs and sharps.

Your process should also include what you will record when disposing of medicines. You should include the date of disposal, name, quantity, and who took them to which pharmacy.

Last updated:
02 December 2019