Discussing and planning medicines support

A quick guide for home care managers
providing medicines support

Medicines support for adults may be provided by a number of different people, including family, healthcare professionals and homecare staff.

It is essential to be clear about what support is needed and who will provide it.

As far as possible, the person should manage their medicines themselves. Where it has been agreed that medicines support will be provided as part of a homecare service, it may be helpful to think about the following areas.

Medicines help maintain health, treat illness, and manage long-term conditions.

Discussing medicines support

Make sure medicines support is considered when assessing a person’s needs, consulting with healthcare colleagues if necessary. Talk to the person and (if they agree) their family or carers about what support they need:

  • What medicines do they use and when?
  • Why do they take these medicines?
  • How do they currently manage and store them?
  • What help do they need?
  • Does their ability to make daily decisions about their medicines change?

Think about the things that might affect the type, amount, or timing of support the person needs. Make sure it is clear who has responsibility for the medicines. Record the discussion and any decisions made.

  • Are the medicines tablets, creams, patches, inhalers, eye drops, or liquids?
  • Are there any special instructions to follow, or any devices used to help administer the medicines – e.g. an oral syringe or eye drop dispenser?
  • Are any medicines needed at a particular time ?
  • Are any medicines taken ‘when required’?
  • Do they take any over-the-counter or herbal medicines, or nutritional supplements?
  • Who will order and collect or deliver the medicines?

woman with clipboard

The 6 rights (Rs) of medicines administration provide a helpful prompt:

number 1

Right person.

number 2

Right medicine.

number 3

Right route.

number 4

Right dose.

number 5

Right time.

number 6

Right to decline.

Planning and reviewing medicines support

Care plan

If the person requires help with their medicines and this is being provided as part of a home care service, the care worker should only provide the support agreed in the care plan. The medicines support section of a care plan could cover:

  • Name.
  • Date of birth.
  • Needs and wishes. The support the person requires for each medicine, taking their preferences into account.
  • Action. What the care worker needs to do to give that support.
  • Consent. How the care worker will get consent for decisions about medicines.

lady in photo infographic


Date on which the support provided will be reviewed. An earlier review will be needed if:

  • changes are made to the person’s  medicines
  • concerns are raised
  • the person goes into hospital
  • the person experiences a major change in their life.

Medicines administration record (MAR)

Accurate, up-to-date and accessible details of the support given for each medicine on every occasion it is provided.

Who else can help?

To support people to manage their medicines as independently as possible, help may be needed from other professionals – for example, the person who prescribed the medicine, the dispensing pharmacist, or another
health professional. They can:

  • provide information, advice and support
  • check if it is possible to simplify how and when the medicines are taken
  • consider if a review might be needed and if any medicine can be stopped.

older woman sat on sofa with healthcare professional standing alongside

This content has been co-produced by NICE and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). It is based on NICE’s guideline on discussing and planning medicines support.