Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

06th January 2021

Assessing a service user’s ability to self-medicate?

When would a service user not be able to self-medicate?



Thank you for your question. Each service user will be individual and unique in terms of their management of medication. As such a medication assessment should be completed to assess the mental capacity and physical ability of the service user to be able to fully manage the medication process themselves. Where it is felt they need no assistance from care workers in the medication process they should self-manage. Where a person lacks mental capacity or the physical ability to manage the process, for example, they cannot open the medication packaging or are not able to take the medication, then support should be provided. This will no longer fall under self-managed. In some cases, a service user may be assessed as not having the mental capacity, for example living with dementia or learning disabilities, that does not allow them to independently manage their medication. However, it is important to consider if there are any aspects of the medication management process, they can manage to promote independence. All these aspects should be considered when determining whether the service user can self-medicate and be documented within their care plan. You also need to make sure that your staff communicate any changes if someone is self-managing for example if they are repeatedly needing reminding, or medication is being left out and not taken as this may indicate they aren’t managing and a review is required.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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