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Who can administer medications in a nursing home?

| Nov 8, 2018 | Nursing Home Neglect

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home in Queens is no doubt a difficult one, yet one you make with their best interests in mind. You may not have the time nor the expertise to provide them the care they need (such as ensuring they take any medications that have been prescribed to them). A nursing home staff should (or so you think). Oftentimes, such facilities have difficulty recruiting and hiring qualified nursing personnel. Specifically regarding the management and administration of medications, all of those tasks should be done by such professionals. 

So what if the facility where your loved one is staying does not have enough a qualified registered nurses? Some might view it as acceptable to train certified nursing assistants or medical technicians to administer medications. Yet such workers fall into the category of “unlicensed assistive personnel.” Essentially, they are there to assist healthcare professionals, not stand in for them. Some states have indeed permitted nurses to train UAP in the administration of medications. While New York state officials recognize the demands placed on nurses, they stop short of allowing them to delegate clinical functions to UAP. 

Per the New York State Nurses Association, “tasks and activities that are not exclusively nursing functions should be assigned to assistive personnel…Functions that are not exclusively within the protected scope of nursing practice have been described as either health-related or non-nursing functions. Non-nursing functions are those activities that do NOT involve direct patient care.” The state has gone on to define medication-related non-nursing functions to be: 

  • Medication cart cleaning
  • Delivering medications to and from the pharmacy 
  • Medication ordering 

In terms of administration, UAP are only authorized to assist self-directed patients with the use of their medications. 

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