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.
On 1 May 2020, we updated our information on reusing medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic in line with UK government guidance.
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
Is this guideline up to date?
We checked this guideline in December 2017. We found no new evidence that affects the recommendations in this guideline.
Guideline development process
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services 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 complying 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.