Administering medication in care homes is a multistep process that needs to be done carefully. Without the proper management of staff and procedures, the chance for error can increase significantly. Here are four simple things all care homes should be doing to ensure the safe and accurate administration of medication.
- Having up-to-date medication policies and procedures
These policies should be based on legal guidance and good practice. They should be detailed enough to give your staff guidance on how to properly administer medication throughout the process, including obtaining medicines, administration, storing and disposing of medication. They also need to be reviewed frequently to ensure they are up-to-date and relevant. All staff should sign and date the policies to confirm they have understood the procedures and will follow them.
Staff should have regular training surrounding medication and the administration thereof to improve knowledge on how to safely give it to residents. Only those who have undergone proper training should be allowed to administer medication. By staff being well-trained and well-led, there will be a reduction in the incidences of error.
- Accurate record keeping
This is an essential part of administering medication—as the saying goes “if it has not documented, it has not happened”. CQC, the registered body of care homes, wants evidence of activities and good practices within care homes. Relying on word-of-mouth only is unacceptable. This is a frequent issue that we have found when carrying out audits within care homes. Common areas that fall short are fridge and room temperature logs, controlled drugs register and Medicine Administration Record sheets (MARs)
When it comes to communication, multiple organizations are involved—hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacy. By maintaining good communication between these bodies, information is passed smoothly and advice is given more clearly. As previously mentioned, everything should be documented, as opposed to just verbal communication. It is vital to understand how other organisations work, for example, GPs normally advise on a 48-hour turnaround time for a prescription to be generated upon the care homes request.
Manchester Pharmacy is a specialist in providing services to care homes. Our expert pharmacists are accredited in various training courses, such as moving and handling and medication awareness. We focus on providing care home staff with clear and relevant training to equip them with knowledge of best practices and improve your organisation. We can also provide medication in various blister packs.