Ask the Care Specialists

Welcome to our 'Ask the Care Specialists', your one-stop portal for social care-related questions. Our team of specialists will try to answer as many of your Social Care questions as possible.

What is the legal requirement for being able to administer medication in a residential or nursing home?

Can a registered nurse give medication in a residential home or just in a nursing home ? What about a care home that is both residential and nursing? What are the legal requirements?

A Registered Nurse can give medication in a residential home as long as they have had the relevant medication training. However, they will not be able to carry out specific nurse procedures that would normally be undertaken by a district or community nurse for example for insurance purposes.

In a nursing home the Registered Nurse is the only person that can administer certain medications to residents/service users who qualify for nursing care - this is because the funding is based on the person receiving care by a Registered Nurse and their needs being more complex that requires oversight and monitoring by a Registered Nurse.  However, in some cases a non-nurse may be able to administer some medications to a nursing resident/service user as the nurse will delegate this task to the trained carer or support worker. The Registered Nurse must be confident that the carer has the appropriate training and competency and the carer must ensure they are confident in administering the medication. Care workers should only administer medicines that they have been trained to give and this will generally include assisting people in: taking tablets, capsules, oral mixtures; applying a cream/ointment; inserting drops to ears, nose or eyes; and administering inhaled medicines. An appropriately trained care assistant can also be a second signatory for the administration of controlled drugs. The administration of medicines by invasive or specialised techniques, or the administration of controlled drugs, will normally involve a Registered Nurse, however, suitably trained and competent senior support staff may administer certain medicines when it has been deemed in the best interest of the resident/service user and these are usually in the capacity of a nursing associate role. or carers with additional training and discussed with the multidisciplinary team. The aim should be to benefit the resident/service user.

Although this is the legal stance on medication administration in a residential and non- residential setting, some providers will have very blanket policies in that only registered nurses must administer medication to nursing residents/services users.

What would you like to ask our Specialists?

Have you got a social care question that you just can't find the answer to? Our team of sector specialists is here to provide you with easy-to-understand top tips on a wide range of topics, from dementia, mental health to employment law or every day operational queries to help you deliver outstanding care.

We try to answer as many of your questions as possible. We give priority to frequently asked questions and questions regarding current events and trends. To learn more about the team visit:

Please note that our specialists cannot offer answers to matters requiring legal advice. Please do have a look at our website at other answers provided by our experts and in our Expert Insights section There is a wealth of information here freely accessible that could help you.

Important note: We are not in any way affiliated or connected to the Care Quality Commission, Care Inspectorate Scotland, or Care Inspectorate Wales. If your query relates to someone who is at risk of harm or in danger, you must follow your local safeguarding procedures. It is important that you speak to your regulator who will provide you with the best guidance and support.

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