Understanding how good practice in administration of medicine is essential for user of health and social care services


Medicines are such powerful compounds that have the potential to control discomfort, diseases and powerful compounds that control disease, ease discomfort and prolong life for millions of people and are generally useful as well. The administration of medication is the core area of weakness in health and social care services. This weakness may result in life threatening mistakes by the social care staff.

However every medicines have some side effects that may degrade the health of an individual. Moreover side effects is not the main cause, people may also intake medicines without having any requirement or for any immoral purpose.  Thus the handling of medicines is an essential task and requisite in every health and social care environment.

Care-workers are responsible to look after and providing medicines to the other people no matter if they are adult or young, healthy or sick, in every situation it is the prime duty of the care workers to look after them. This can be correlated with any of the practices that are set in connection something that needs a clear view of usage.

This report will help in highlighting the basic safe medication administration principles and will help in increasing the awareness of care staff in diverse social care settings.

Importance of good practice in relation to the administration of medicine

Administration of medicines is the chief responsibility of every health care staff worker. The administration involves providing the patient with a compound that has been prescribed to him for his diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a medical illness or condition.

The Principles are set rules that are developed by the experienced administrators that are based on safe and appropriate handling of medicines. Eight core principles regarding safe and proper handling of medicines have been identified and are mentioned below (DRH, August 2008 )

  1. Every person has freedom of choice in selecting the social care services, the provision of pharmaceutical care and dispensed medical services.
  2. The care staff is aware of every person from where they could easily procure the desired medicine and the social care units keeps a proper record of all the medicines.
  3. Care staff is competent enough while helping people with the medicines.
  4. The care staff has to maintain the dignity and privacy of the individual when they give medicines to them. The staff should give medicines to the patients safely and correctly.
  5. The staff should ensure that the medicines have been available for the individuals whenever required and should dispose off all unwanted medicines safely.
  6. Medicines should be stored in a safe place.
  7. The social care service has access to advice from a pharmacist.
  8. Medicines should be used only for curing or preventing disease, or to relieve symptoms but not to punish or control anybody’s behavior.

Administration of Medicines

The safe and proper administration of medicines refers to the way in which medicines are given such as to maximize benefits and to avoid causing harm. The authorities should provide their staff with a place their own local policies and procedures for the safe medication administration for each particular unit.

The administration of medicines is an important step to be taken in the professional practice. The task cannot be performed solely, it can be performed only with the assistance and strict compliance with the written prescription of the medical practitioner (Association, 2008).

The staff should remove medicines from their original containers from which they were dispensed. This is because, if the medicines get mixed with the other medicine, I would become harmful for the person who is going to take it.

In order to ensure security while giving medicines to the patients, the staff is required to:

  • Correctly identify each medicine before giving that to patients. For this each pack of medicine should have an attached label of the e pharmacist or dispensing GP.
  • The staff is also required to identify the exact patient to whom the medicine is being given.
  • The staff should also know the purpose and procedure of giving the medicine.
  • The staff also has to follow all the precautionary steps if required.

Moreover easy to follow written steps needs to be followed by your staff while running a care service. The staff should be authorized to give only those medicines in which they have been trained in. Staff should also understand and should be aware that a medicine could be recognized by two names, a generic name that would be based on the ingredient of the medicine and the other name could be the propriety/trade name. For example, paracetamol is recognized as a generic name and Anadin as its propriety/trade name.

The staff should ensure the following standards in order to administer the medication procedure:

  • They should administer only on the basis of a valid prescription
  • Do not administer anything on the basis of illegible, incomplete or unclear prescription.
  • Ensure the identity of the user of the service and check the name,
  • Strength and expiry date of medicine (where available), the dose, route and time of administration, drug sensitivity.
  • Lastly, as soon as they give medicines to the victim, they have to mark it in the prescription chart to avoid double/over dosage.

In addition the staff should also:

  • Check if the patient is not allergic to the medicine before giving it. This may make the situation worse than before.
  • Be aware of the patient’s plan of care.
  • If any contra-indications are discovered, immediately Contact the prescriber.
  • Do not prepare any medicinal substance for injections in advance prior to use.

Further, the staff should understand that what to do and how to react if they find an adult or child refusing to take prescribed medicines. The care worker should never force an adult or child to take medicine. Instead of this the care worker should wait for a period of time e before going back to the adult or child and again offering the medicine. The worker may also call the GP for further advice if necessary (Good Practice Guidance B: Administration of medicines in Care Homes, 2011).

What if there is a mistake or an incident?

There may be chances of occurrence of an error or a mistake while prescribing, dispensing or administration of medicines. Mostly the medication errors never harm an individual but a few errors can have serious consequences. In such cases it would be better to record and investigate the cause of errors so that they could gain experience from the incidents and could prevent a similar error happening in the future (NHS, 2007)

Some examples of such errors include Wrong dose is given, too much, too little, Medication is not given, Medication is given to the wrong child or adult. Also the service providers should not ever ignore any error instead they should report incidents to the authorities ignoring the fear of an unjustifiable level of recrimination.

Keeping Records

It would be beneficial to record everything whatever happens or whatever you do. The human memory is not that reliable to remember each and every incident that happened in a day. If recorded accurately, you will not face any scolding from the seniors. Accurately means recording at the time they work has been done, not at the time you started functioning it. For example, if you start preparing a medicinal  dose, there was no point to record it at that time because you are not sure about that they will take it or not but once recorded as it means that they have accepted and taken it (Council, 2007).


It is important to store and preserve all the medicines under the control of the designated staff members. The users of services who holds their own medication, should store their medication in a secure place to ensure the safety of themselves and others.

The designated members can store the medications in a separate cupboard and should be checked occasionally for any pilferage or dirt etc. Access to and control of Drug Keys must be restricted to an authorized staff member and it should be inspected by the pharmacist himself.

The legislation that has a direct impact upon the handling of medication in the setting of social care includes:

  • The Medicines Act 1968
  • The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
  • The Misuse of Drugs (Safe Custody) Regulations 1973 SI 1973 No 798 as amended by the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001
  • The NHS Scotland Pharmaceutical Service (Regulations) 1995
  • The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 as amended by The Regulation of Care Act 2001
  • The Children Act 1989
  • The Children’s Act (Scotland) 1995
  • The Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Care Standards Act 2000
  • The Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001
  • The Health and Social Care Act 2001
  • Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000


After going through the above evaluation it would not be wrong to say that administration of medicines is really a very important and a tedious task. The administrative staff has to follow all the above said principles which are important in the day to day functioning of the health care unit. The above report evaluates the effectiveness of policies and procedures used in health and social care settings while administrating medicine. A need of a an effective administrating staff is a prerequisite for every health care unit.


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