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.

30th October 2015

Who can self medicate?

How do you define some one who can self medicate?

Who can self medicateDear Charles,

  • It is for you or your staff to define whether or not the person is able to self-medicate following a robust risk assessment (including a Mental Capacity Act Assessment where required to ascertain whether or not the service user has the mental capacity to make this particular decision.)
  • Any decision on self-medication should be reviewed monthly when the care plan itself is reviewed.
  • Service Users have the right to self-medicate providing their arrangements fit with the homes policies and procedures.
  • If appropriate Service Users should be offered the opportunity to self-medicate on admission.
  • A properly lockable storage unit must be available in the service user’s room if they are going to self-medicate.
  • The degree of self-medication could vary. For instance there might be just one drug that the service user wishes to be sure that they take at a particular time. That is fine, whatever is best for the service should be the way forward!
  • The home must keep a proper record of receipt of the drug or drugs at the home and when the drugs were given to the service users.
  • The home must have appropriate policies and procedures in place.

30 years ago when I was a care home owner the majority of service users self-medicated. That is no longer the case but there are still many service users that want to and, providing the risk assessment is positive, they should be allowed to do so.

You might also want to check the NICE guidelines which includes a section on self-medication:

Best wishes.


*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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