In home-based care environments, medication oversight is an important aspect of high quality care and services. What exactly does medication oversight mean for care providers and health care agencies? States regulate what home health care aides and services can provide in regard to medications and medication oversight. A majority of home health care agencies provide the bulk of services classified as non-medical care. That means that companions, home health aides, and others who do not have licensure to dispense medications are not allowed to actually dole out medication for your loved one.
What are they allowed to do?
According to most state standards regarding home health care when it comes to medication dispensation, a home health care provider must be a certified nursing assistant or licensed nursing assistant, but only those with a medication licensure (which follows a 50 hour course), are allowed to pass medications. This scenario is not commonly found in home health care. Every state is different. For example, some home health care agencies and state guidelines allow a home health aide to “assist” in taking medications, but not to set up or administer those medications. That must be done by a nurse.
The home health aide can provide medication assistance through reminders, cues, and helping a client to handle or open a pill bottle or so forth. They can help provide assistance in the taking of the medication through, for example, offering the client a tablespoon of applesauce to help with the swallowing of medications.
Home health care aides who provide nonmedical care are certainly capable of providing medication oversight. What this means for clients and family members is that the medications must be contained in adequate dosages prior to the arrival of a home health care aide. The home health care aide can remind clients to take their medications as required by caregiver instructions, and can place pillboxes or medications within reach of the client, but they are not allowed to actually take the pills out of prescription bottle and hand medications to the client.
Keeping track of a patient’s or client’s compliance with medications is also a responsibility that can be requested. To increase cooperation and adherence to medication schedules, caregivers at OptimumCare Home Care Services are trained to impress upon clients the importance of following their prescription routines. Family members or spouses are reminded to place adequate dosages of the medications in multiple compartment pillboxes with separate labels that specify the time of day these pills are to be taken. Some pillboxes can hold daily dosages while others have enough compartments that medications last an entire week.
So, while many home-based care providers are not allowed to actually dispense medication, they provide a valuable service in ensuring that clients take their medications on time when you can’t be there to supervise.