Assisting with Self-Administered Medications

Oct 21, 2011

At Griswold Special Care, our priority is for the safety and well being of each and every Client that we serve.  Further, we want to make sure that each Caregiver is well informed with respect to their roles, responsibilities and legal restrictions as prescribed by the State of Georgia.  All Caregivers providing, and all Clients receiving, non-medical home care through Griswold Special Care should have a clear understanding of what may or may not be done, by law, with regards to administration of the Client’s prescribed medications by the Caregivers.

Griswold Special Care Caregivers, by law, are not allowed to administer prescription medications, under any circumstances.  By law, only a licensed professional is allowed to administer medications (PCT, LPN, RN, MD).  Furthermore, any homecare agency licensed by the State of Georgia as a Private Homecare Provider is prohibited from administering medications, regardless of the qualifications of the caregiver.  The non-medical Caregiver may not administer medications, not as a favor to the Client nor the Client's family, nor in response to the direction of another agency's or hospice's nurse; no signed release can change this.

Administration is when a Client is unable or unwilling to participate in the process of taking his or her pills, or when it is a nursing procedure such as injections or intravenous administration.  This includes the application of patches with which the Client cannot assist.

Assistance is when Griswold Special Care Caregivers remind Client's to take their pre-poured medications on a timely and regular basis. The Caregivers are legally permitted to assist Client's with self-administered medications.

Here are some guidelines to help clarify the state regulations:

  • The Client must be able to assist in identifying the medication, opening his/her mouth voluntarily, chewing a chewable tablet, and saying "it is time for my pill". 
  • The Client must participatein the process.
  • The Caregiver cannot hide pills in applesauce or other foods to make certain the Client takes the pill when they clearly do not want to take it. 
  • The Caregiver may never give injections nor shots of any kind (to include unassisted finger sticks for blood testing and insulin injections for Diabetics even if they're pre-measured - this is still an injection).
  • The Caregiver may not place nitroglycerine or other patches which the Client does not self-place or identify a location in order to participate in the placement.
  • The Caregiver may not place liquids or crushed pills in feeding tubes when the Client is unable to assist and pour the medication intothe tubing him/herself.

Pill Boxes can simplify the medication assistance process by ensuring medications are clearly labeled and identified as to when they are to be taken and the number to be taken.  Family, neighbors, volunteers, Home Health Nurses, or the Pharmacist can pre-fill the pill boxes. Blister Packs can also be pre-filled by the Pharmacist.  A Caregiver cannot legally fill the medication trays nor dispense from a volume pill container.

If there is ever a question or concern regarding the assistance with self administration of medications, please call us at (770) 908-0707.