Dispensing medications in LTC

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    I work in LTC in NC on the weekends. Frequently, we have residents leave with family members for an extended period of time. Our policy is that the family must fill out a request for LOA meds form 72 hours prior to the resident leaving. Sometimes our pharmacy does not send some or all of the meds they would need and sometimes the family forgets to fill one out. When the resident had no meds to take home, I have always sent the bubble pack of pills with instructions on what to take and when on a different sheet of paper and have the family member sign that I gave them the pills and that they understand when and how to give the medications. My current DON says that we can not do that, in case the family forgets to bring them back and then the facility eats the cost of the supply sent, and that we must pop the correct amount of pills into a pill pack, write on the pill pack the medication name, strength and instructions for each individual medications.

    My question is is that isn't that dispensing drugs? My DON says there is no difference in me popping the pill to give directly to the resident than popping the pill to put in a pill case and sending home with them. I've found information in other states saying that this is dispensing, but can not find anything "official" in NC.

    Please help!
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  3. 2 Comments so far...

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    I think you are going to get many different answers here, but in my opinion, putting the pills into a dosette or envelope with directions is NOT dispensing. You are handing them over to the family to administer to the resident/patient. Same goes for narcotics - you sign that you have given xx amount of tabs to the family member, and then they administer. Just remember to document what you did very clearly in the chart and nursing communication books. The same goes with documentation upon return from LOA.
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    I do this all the time, too. It sure *sounds* like dispensing to me. I think it's just one of those things we gotta do to get the job done, even if it's in a grey area legality wise. Unless you got a really good pharmacy that will set up all the LOA meds for you, I see no way around it. SOMEbody's got to do it, right?


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