Storing and disposing of medicines in care homes

Storing medicines

Care homes must store all medicines safely, including controlled drugs. These are medicines that have legal controls because they may be misused, obtained illegally or cause harm (examples include morphine, pethidine and methadone).

Care homes should think about how medicines should be stored for each resident. This should include providing easy access for people who are responsible for taking their own medicines.

Disposing of medicines

Before disposing of a medicine, staff should check whether it is still needed, whether it's within its expiry date and what the shelf-life is once opened. Care homes should keep records of all medicines (including controlled drugs) that have been disposed of or are waiting to be disposed of. Medicines waiting for disposal should be kept in a locked cupboard until they are collected or taken to the pharmacy.