Terms used in this guideline

For the purposes of this guideline the term 'care home' covers the provision of 24‑hour accommodation together with either non‑nursing care (for example, a residential home) or nursing care (for example, a care home with nursing).

The term 'care home provider' is used for the registered provider of care. If regulation or practice differs between different types of care homes (for example, a children's care home, an adult's care home, a non‑nursing care home or a nursing care home), then the type of care home is specified in the text.

When the term 'organisations' is used, this includes all commissioners and providers (including care home providers), unless specified otherwise in the text. Commissioners are those individuals who undertake commissioning which is 'the process used by health services and local authorities to: identify the need for local services; assess this need against the services and resources available from public, private and voluntary organisations; decide priorities; and set up contracts and service agreements to buy services. As part of the commissioning process, services are regularly evaluated'.

Providers are organisations that directly provide health or social care services (such as a care home).

Individual people who live in care homes are referred to as 'residents' or 'care home residents' in this guideline.

A 'care home' can be of any size (number of residents) or have any type of resident (children, older people, people with cognitive impairment, young disabled people, people with a learning disability), but should be a registered provider of care (for example, in England with either the CQC or Ofsted).

For the purposes of this guideline, the term 'care home staff' includes registered nurses and social care practitioners working in a care home.

The term 'carer' is used for an informal or unpaid carer.

The term 'health and social care practitioners' is used to define the wider care team, including care home staff (registered nurses and social care practitioners working in care homes), social workers, case managers, GPs, pharmacists and community nurses. When specific recommendations are made for a particular professional group, this is specified in the recommendation, for example, 'GPs'.

The term 'pharmacist' is used for all pharmacists, including primary care pharmacists, care home pharmacists and supplying pharmacists. Primary care pharmacists work in the primary care setting and may have a role working with care homes. Care home pharmacists have a dedicated role working in care homes. Supplying pharmacists work in a community pharmacy or chemist shop.

When a care home resident is able to look after and take their own medicines, this is referred to as 'self-administration'.

When the guideline refers to the administration of medicines, this is when care home staff check and give, or help to give, a resident their medicine(s).