Administration of medicines in care homes (with nursing) for older people by care assistants – developing guidance for care home providers
Karen Spilsbury | University of Leeds
Objective: To develop evidence-based guidance on the role of the care assistant in medicine administration in UK care homes with nursing for older people. We have focused on this particular care home setting in response to the brief: to consider how the registered nurse in this environment could be ‘freed up’ from medicine administration to focus on case management of residents with complex needs, undertaking assessments of need and the supervision of care staff in the provision of care.
Methods: We have conducted a ‘rapid review’ of literature on the administration of medicines in care homes (with nursing) for older people by care assistants and related relevant legislation and policy documents. Our focus, for the purposes of the review and the development of subsequent guidance, is UK literature but this is located within an international context. Our framework for conducting the review ensures that the methods deployed are conducted in a rigorous and transparent way. Thirty-two UK papers are included in the review. The majority of the included literature (n=23) comprises: legislation, regulation, professional standards, standards and guidance from national bodies and organisations, improvement projects and audit, descriptive articles from the care sector and news items. Only nine research papers provided findings of relevance to the focus of this review.
Results: The review has informed the development of guidance for care home providers on the role of the care assistant in medicine administration in care homes (with nursing) for older people. The law does not prevent care assistants from administering medicines in care homes. However, there is legislation, guidance, professional standards and evidence that inform the roles and responsibilities of the registered provider and individual staff (Registered Nurse and Care Assistant) involved in medicine administration. This broad ranging literature will be discussed and related to the evidence-based guidance that will be shared in this presentation.
Policy implications: There is a workforce crisis in the care home sector. Considering ways to ‘free up’ time of the registered nursing resource is a priority for care home providers, practitioners and policy makers. This presentation will address uncertainties about the role of care assistants administering medicines in care homes with nursing for older people. This provides an opportunity for the care home workforce to reconsider roles and responsibilities that may enhance the care for residents through timely administration of medicines and promoting the role of the registered nurse in important areas of care, such as case management