This guideline covers good practice for managing medicines in care homes. It aims to promote the safe and effective use of medicines in care homes by advising on processes for prescribing, handling and administering medicines. It also recommends how care and services relating to medicines should be provided to people living in care homes.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- developing and reviewing policies for safe and effective use of medicines
- supporting residents to make informed decisions and recording them
- sharing information, record-keeping and medicines reconciliation
- safeguarding and medicine-related problems
- reviewing, prescribing, ordering and dispensing medicines, and receiving, storing and disposing of them
- helping residents to take their own medicines
- care home staff administering medicines (including covert administration) and non-prescription products
- training and competency of care home staff
Who is it for?
- People who provide care in care homes, including care home staff (including nurses employed by the home), GPs, community nursing teams and specialist nurses
- People who provide services to care homes, for example supplying pharmacies, GPs, dispensing doctors and appliance contractors
- People who commission or monitor how care is provided in care homes, for example, local authorities, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted)
- People who live in care homes and their families and carers
Guideline development process
Next review: March 2018
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.