Is it illegal for caregivers to administer meds in PA?

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    Hey everyone I have been asking this question everywhere and even spoke with a couple ER nurses and they wouldn't tell me, but a few other people have told me that it is, indeed, illegal.

    I work through an agency but at people's homes (home health aide etc.) I'm just nervous that if it is illegal, I don't want to continue working there.


    I am in school full time for dental hygiene so nursing isn't what I want to do otherwise I would get certified as a medicine aide.


    The main reason I won't do it to keep my job is because if they are willing to not be honest with their employees and put them at risk like this, they're not someone I'm willing to trust.

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  2. Poll: Is it illegal in PA for caregivers to administer medications?

  3. 1
    No, it's not illegal. Unlike the hospital or a nursing home, people's homes are not medical institutions. It's just somebody's house. Anyone can administer meds legally in this environment. A HHA, a family member, a neighbor, anyone.
    lindarn likes this.
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    Also, I don't really get the rationale behind a poll that asks a factual, yes or no question. Either it is legal or it isn't. (it is) Aren't polls usually for opinions? Now if you were to ask SHOULD caregivers administer meds in home health, that would make more sense as a poll....
  5. 0
    Hmm, after googling the subject, maybe I was wrong? There seems to be some legal debate? Maybe HHas CANT give meds? This would surprise me since I know for a fact assisted living CNAs can give meds. I also know caregivers in adult foster care give meds all the time. Maybe the law is if the home health pt is under the care of a nurse, then the med administration cannot be delegated? All so confusing.... My apologies to OP.
  6. 0
    There is a difference between administering and assisting people in taking their own meds. Usually, if one is in a foster home or assisted living situation, an aide can assist a resident in taking their own meds from a nurse pre-poured pill box, or by the resident taking out their own meds while the aide just verifies that the resident has taken them. What may be not so legal or in a bit of a grey area is that if the aide in the home is taking out the medicine bottles, pouring the meds for the client. and giving them to the client. That opens up a huge can of worms for the agency if the aide makes a mistake. However, if it is a private caregiver not with an agency, they I wouldn't think have legal guidelines, just that if they make a mistake that causes the patient harm, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of the family if that happens....
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    Typically, home health aides and CNA's are not allowed to administer meds in the home setting. They are allowed to give medication reminders. You should inquire with your state licensing authority. If you can't get through with a phone call, it would be better to send a letter by snail mail. You will receive a written response which you can share with your employers.
    CJcaregiver likes this.
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    Seeing as how some of you were so quick to attack me and then questioned yourself shows this was a good question.

    Does it matter if the poll is for opinions or facts? I simply wanted an answer and sometimes people don't like answering if they aren't 100% sure so I wanted to see what the majority said.

    Also, I spoke with the Health Department and a few other companies near me. CNA's, Home health aides, and caregivers are NOT to administer medications; it is highly illegal unless there is a nurse present that has the correct qualifications.


    What if someone didn't know certain meds couldn't be taken together and they had a reaction? CNA's/HHA's have no training or anything. It's scary and I for one would not want one administering meds to my family member so I'm not about to administer meds to them.


    An example, A bedridden patient that cannot do anything for themselves, including use their fingers, needs maximum assistance in everything. I would physically need to open the pill bottle and put it in their mouth (high illegal) whereas a patient that just needs slight monitoring but only needs very minimum assistance will only need a med. reminder and I can open the bottle or something but I cannot get the pills out or put them in my client's mouth.


    This is definitely not a good website and I will not, 100% recommend it to anyone. I also will not come back for future assistance because I don't appreciate getting attacked when I ask a very genuine question that not only affects me, but affects my client's as well.
    Last edit by CJcaregiver on Jul 26, '12
  9. 0
    Yikes, no one attacked you. Would you want me NOT to correct myself?? Anyway, I was thinking more along the lines of adult foster care in my first post. Maybe that's what this job is? A HHA in adult foster care definitely can administer meds.
  10. 1
    Don't know about PA, but in MO, I had to take a 2 day med tech course in order to be able to administer meds in a home setting. This was before I had any other certification in the medical field. The meds were overseen by a physician, reviewed monthly by an RN, and documented meticulously on a paper MAR. I would think it would come down to what kind of training you have had and of course the laws of your state.

    Also, "caregiver" is a fairly generic term encompassing anyone who provides care to someone. I am a caregiver for my children, so is the daycare they attend. If my kids have a prescription in a labeled bottle, the daycare can administer their medication as prescribed. Family members are caregivers, as are people who work for an agency to provide care.

    As for this site, I am sorry you find it so offensive, but as it is a site for peers to gather and discuss issues pertinent to nursing, and is neither a medical nor legal advice site, I am not sure how an expert answer can be expected. To get the answer you seek, perhaps you should contact your state board of nursing or a lawyer specializing in medical law.

    Good luck with dental hygiene school.
    Justin F likes this.


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