Home Health Blogger

6 Best Practices for Home Health Aides & Medications

Posted by Joy Joan E. De Castro, RN, MSN on Jul 25, 2023

Are home health aides in your state allowed to give medications? Click here to here to find out -

Most states allow the home health aide to remind and facilitate the patient with SELF-ADMINISTRATION of her/his medications - not physically administering the medication. Some states permit home health aides with advanced training to administer medications.

The aide's role in facilitating medication self-administration can help increase a patients' understanding of their medications and to promote independence - depending on the patient’s capability. Home Health Aide Quiz for  Medication Administration

Specific tasks for the home health aide when facilitating medication self-administration by the patient:

  • Remind the patient when a medication is scheduled to be taken.
  • Bring the medication to the patient.
  • Bring other equipment needed to prepare and self-administer the medication.
  • Read or show the medication label to patient to demonstrate how proper medication administration is conducted: (1) right person, (2) right medication, (3) right dose, (4) right time, (5) right route and (6) right documentation.
  • Position the patient for self-administration.
  • Open the container or package so patient can self-administer.
  • Provide appropriate liquids for swallowing medications.
  • Store medication in the appropriate place.
  • Clean and store/dispose of special medication equipment after use.
  • Wash hands.

If the HHA is permitted to administer medications...make sure everything is 'RIGHT'

1. Right patient

•    Use 2 identifiers. Check the name on the label to make sure it is the same as the patient’s name. Check the name on the label against the name on the Care Plan.
•    Ask patient to identify himself/herself.

2. Right medication

•    Check the medication label.
•    Check the Medication Administration Record (MAR).

3. Right dose

•    Check the medication label.
•    Check the Medication Administration Record (MAR).

4. Right route

•    Refer to written instructions provided by the nurse, involve patient if appropriate.

5. Right time

•    Double-check that you are giving the ordered dose at the correct time.
•    Confirm when the last dose was given.

6. Right documentation

•    Document administration AFTER giving the ordered medication.
•    Document any vital signs and/or lab readings (blood sugar etc) per policy.

CTA-help-administer-meds.pngMake sure to follow the following steps to assist the patient in taking medications:

1. Wash hands.
2. Read the container label.
3. Check the name on the label to make sure it is the same as the patient’s name.
4. Check the dose and frequency on the label against the dose for that medication on the Care Plan. Check the MAR for the time that the last dose was given.
6. If anything is incorrect, contact supervisor for further instructions.
7. Explain to patient the reason for this.
8. Record and report any problems about the medication in question.

If the patient has a change in condition (i.e. fever, chills), always call the nurse/supervisor prior to assisting the patient to take their meds. If a patient questions what you are doing, re-verify everything prior to proceeding.

Cueing a patient to take their medications, or providing some physical assistance to enable a client to independently take their medications is a customary activity for unlicensed assistive personnel, who are competent to do so.

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