Can Home Carers Give Medication?

James Bowdler

11 September, 2023

2 min read

Yes, home carers can administer medication provided it has been prescribed by an appropriate practitioner, and this is clearly documented in the care plan. However, in some cases, they may only be permitted to prompt medication, rendering direct administration to be carried out by a qualified medical professional or a trained relative.

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The Duty of Home Carers

Home carers often have many responsibilities, from helping with personal hygiene and maintaining the house to cooking and running errands. Among these tasks is the requirement to ensure the individual under care takes their medication correctly— which can be complex and critical. They ensure that the individual takes the prescribed medications at the right time, in the right dose and via the correct method.

Legalities of Medication Administration

Notably, there are legal requirements that govern medication administration in the UK. As per the Medicines Act 1968, only a qualified medical practitioner can prescribe medication. However, the legislation allows healthcare workers, including home carers, to administer medication according to the prescriber’s instructions. However, it is crucial to understand that this permission depends on adequate training and competency assessment of the carer.

Training and Qualification Requirements

Home carers need specific training in this area due to the potential risks associated with medication administration. They are trained to understand pharmaceutical information, manage medication effectively, and appreciate the legal, professional, and ethical aspects of administering medicines. In the UK, Skills for Care recommends a training course called ‘The Safe Handling of Medicines’, which offers a competency framework that carers must prove they grasp before being allowed to manage any medication-related situations.

Level of Involvement in Medication Administration

While carers are permitted to help with medication administration, the extent of their involvement varies depending on the individual’s need and competency of the carer.

  1. Prompting medication: The carer reminds the individual to take their medicine. It often applies to individuals who can self-administer but might forget due to old age or mental condition.
  2. Administration of medication: In this case, the carer may help the individual by actively participating. Examples include applying the medicine, administering it orally, or using specialised medical devices.
  3. Specialised administration involves advanced procedures such as administering injections or managing medicines through feeding tubes. Often, these procedures require specific training or a registered healthcare professional.

Policies and Best Practices

Home care providers should have clear policies in place about medication management. This should cover planning, record keeping, safe storage, disposal, and actions in case of a medication error. Knowledge of these procedures ensures the safety of the dependant and protects the carer in case of any legal implications.

The Role of Electronic Medication Administration Records

Digital solutions such as electronic medication administration records (eMAR) are increasingly used for accountable and easy-to-manage records. They help in reducing errors by reminding carers when to administer medication. Also, they create a permanent record, can be updated instantly, and are readily accessible to anyone caring for the individual.


To sum up, home carers can administer medication, but only under certain circumstances. The proper training and suitable tools like eMAR are imperative for doing this responsibly and accurately. It’s crucial to adhere to correct processes, understand all responsibilities, and ensure that a comprehensive care plan, including medication details, is in place. After all, the ultimate goal is to provide a safe and secure environment for individuals in need. Home carers play a critical role in the individual’s healthcare journey, whether prompting the patient, assisting with administration, or managing specialised procedures.

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James Bowdler


I founded and manage PrimeCarers, a Platform that connects Private Clients with Private Carers near them.

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