E: support@e-carehub.co.uk



Domestic (Homely or Non-prescribed) Medicines in Domiciliary Care Policy

Policy Statement

This policy shows how {{org_field_name}} handles issues arising from the use of homely, non-prescribed or over-the-counter medicines by people in situations where the service has responsibilities for administering their prescribed medicines.

The medicines in this policy are those that can be bought over the counter to treat minor symptoms for short periods (eg headache, cough, indigestion).

{{org_field_name}} recognises that the people it supports might be taking over-the-counter medicines as well as prescribed medicines and, in most instances, they will be responsible for their buying, taking, and checking with their medical advisers (GP or community nurses) on their safe use. However, it is always important to ensure that these medicines are safe to take and do not compromise the taking of other medicines, prescribed and in some instances non-prescribed.

{{org_field_name}} is aware that in 2017 NHS England launched a consultation on “over-the-counter” (OTC) medicines, those non-prescription medicines available from pharmacies and supermarkets, etc. Guidance was subsequently produced to advise GPs and prescribers to reduce the prescription of OTC medicines for certain minor conditions and, instead, to advise patients of what product they should purchase over-the-counter and how to apply it.

The policy of {{org_field_name}} is that implementing the OTC guidance should not restrict safe access to necessary medicines for vulnerable people, including people in adult social care. In addition, the organisation recognises that some people in social care services will be exempt from the requirement to purchase an OTC medicine because the medicine is being used for a long-term condition. Others may be exempt if the clinician considers that a person lacks the ability to self-manage their medication.

Legislation and Guidance

The policy and procedures which the service has developed are in line with the applicable national standards for health and social care, relevant legislation and best practice guidance relating to the management and administration of medication in adult social care, including:

Over-the-counter Medicines Procedures

Where the domiciliary care service has a responsibility for any aspect of medication administration, it routinely checks if the person is using over-the-counter medicines and asks the person if he or she could keep the service informed if and when they are taking in new supplies. The service will then check with the user’s GP or a pharmacist that the over-the-counter medication is compatible with the medication that the service is responsible for administering. CQC guidance warns that care workers should not offer advice to people about over-the-counter medication or complementary treatments.

Care staff are also expected to check always that it is safe to proceed if a person discusses, seeks advice or requests help with the taking of the domestic medicine irrespective of whether {{org_field_name}} is involved in the administration of any prescribed medicines. This can be done in some instances by checking the medicine’s Patient Information Leaflet (PIL).

This would apply if the request was even only to take a bottle from a cupboard or a tablet from its packaging. They should record all transactions and forms of help in their care notes/care plan. The service would expect its staff to refuse to help if they thought it unsafe to proceed.

Whenever care staff from the service are asked to administer or help administer prescribed medication in line with an individual’s care plan they are instructed to make basic checks with the person on whether they have recently used or bought anything over the counter. If the answer is yes, then they are expected to check that it is safe to proceed with the administration of the medicines for which they are responsible. If they have any concerns they are required to check with their manager or a healthcare professional that it is safe to do so.

Staff should be aware of the possible side-effects of domestic medicines and their possible incompatibility with any other medication the person might be taking and watch out for such side-effects, whereupon they should seek medical advice immediately.

Where a GP or other prescriber advises or recommends that a person purchases and uses a specific OTC medicine or product, the clinician will be expected to provide verbal or written instructions on the use of the medicine. The organisation will use this information to support the person in taking the medicine or applying the product if required.


In compliance with advice in NICE guideline NG67, care workers must record the medicines support given to a person for each individual medicine on every occasion. This includes details of all support for over-the-counter medicines. It includes actions such as:

All checks, observations and concerns about the safe use of over-the-counter medicines are recorded on the person’s care plan and regularly monitored and reviewed.


All new staff will receive training as part of their induction covering basic information about common medicines and how to recognise and deal with medication problems, including issues relating to the taking of homely remedies.

Those with specific duties and responsibilities for the administration of medicines will be expected to attend additional training and subsequent updates.

Care staff should never undertake any duties or roles relating to the administration of any medicines that they have not been trained to do or for which they do not feel competent. Staff may at any time request clarification or information relating to controlled drugs from their line manager.

Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

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