Home care services should give people more responsibility to manage their medicines, says NICE

NICE is urging home care staff to make sure they give people direct responsibility for their own medicines wherever possible, with help from family or carers if needed.

home care homecare worker medicines support

In a new draft guideline which is being published for public consultation NICE has set out how staff can help adults who are receiving social care support at home to manage their medicines safely and correctly.

The latest report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into the state of the care system in England said home care services that were rated as outstanding achieved this mainly because staff took enough time to have meaningful discussions with people.

NICE says staff should discuss with each individual their needs and preferences and record decisions about what support they need in their personal home care plan.

If a home care worker needs to offer support, the draft guideline outlines how to approach this. It covers areas such as ordering prescriptions, administering medicines and what records to take.

Anne Bentley, lead pharmacist for East Lancashire CCG and chair of the group that developed the NICE guideline, said: “More and more people are using home care services and this will often include help with managing their medicines. If people do not take their medicines properly they may end up in hospital or become overly reliant on NHS services.

“People receiving social care support so they can stay living in their own home may already have much to worry about. We want to support people to be as independent as possible so they can take their medicines safely and get the most from their treatment."

To ensure staff are able to effectively carry out their roles, NICE is saying that home care providers should give their staff adequate training in medicines’ support. They should also be told when and how to seek help and advice.

NICE also sets out how services should share information to ensure people get the same high-quality care if they have to move into a care home or hospital or change who provides their home care. For instance it says prescribers should avoid only passing on information about changes to a person’s medicines verbally.

If things go wrong NICE wants home care providers to foster an environment where staff and the people using their services can easily report their issues.

NICE calls for a “fair blame” culture, where people, family members, carers and home care workers are able to freely talk about things that go wrong. It says allowing people to raise concerns can minimise harm and help improve their care in the future.

Anyone working in health and social care, as well as the public can send NICE their views on the draft guideline.

We want to support people to be as independent as possible so they can take their medicines safely and get the most from their treatment.

Anne Bentley, lead pharmacist for East Lancashire CCG and chair of the group that developed the NICE guideline