About 4 years ago, when I had first started nursing school
, I worked in a group home and was required to get "certified" to pass meds to the 4 individuals who resided in that particular house.
All direct care staff was given a 4 hr. general med pass class and then we were trained specifically for whatever house we would work in and were required to know specifically about the meds that those individuals were taking. We had to complete written tests with regard to specific medications and then had to be observed for 3 med passes per individual.
The nurse who was responsible for that specific house, also would come and give a talk about any new med or adjustment to an individual's medication if it occurred, and you would be required to look up the med in the medication book and were responsible for being familiar with s/e, etc.
In the particular house that I worked in, we also did counts of each and every med for each and every individual with the next shift coming on as an additional safety check to make sure that all meds were accounted for.
We also were required to follow the rules of med administration and each individual had to come to the "med room" one at a time to receive their meds. Our charting was specific, and if a patient refused a med, we were able to call the nurse who covered that house at any time for direction as to what to do, which most of the time would be that the house manager or the nurse who have to come and give the med since it was not something that should be missed. I worked at a level II home which was more behavioral with some medical. Also each shift, only one of the DCA would be the designated medicator for the shift.
All in all I was there for over 8 months and there was 1 med error which was because a direct care attendant gave a med but didn't chart it which showed up during the count. Most of the meds we were giving were psych meds, anti-seizure, and if someone had an infection, antibiotics.
All the DCA in that particular house took this responsibility very seriously and so it seemed to work out ok.
The other thing is that if you are only working in one home with a smaller number of clients instead of an institution, you do become quite familiar with the individuals as well as their medications. I would just take as long as I need to read the med chart, pour the med, etc., and do not let anything distract you while you are doing it. I think as long as you are well trained, and take this responsibility seriously, you will be fine.