When care home staff give medicines without a resident knowing

If a person has capacity to make decisions about their treatment and care, they should not be given medicines without them knowing. Very occasionally, if this is in the best interests of the resident and they lack capacity, medicines are given to a person in a disguised form without them knowing (for example, in food or drink). This is called 'covert administration'. Care homes should have a process that follows existing laws and good practice guidelines on how and when this should be done. This is important to protect both the person being given the medicine and the staff in the care home.

The process should include:

  • how to assess someone's capacity to refuse a medicine and how to record reasons for presuming a person's incapacity

  • holding a meeting to determine what is best for the person

  • recording the proposed treatment plan and the reason for giving a medicine without the person knowing

  • planning how to give the medicines without the person knowing

  • regularly reviewing whether covert administration is still needed.