Can caregivers give medications?

Nurses General Nursing


Can caregivers give medications? My mother worked for an assisted living home as a caregiver and was required to give the residents their medications. She was very stressed out about this because she could not keep up with giving the correct meds at the correct times and knows for sure that mistakenly there were times she and her coworkers did not give the correct medications to the residents or gave them at incorrect times. She still works for the assisted living home but quit working as caregiver. There is supposedly a nurse working from 9-5 but she does not give meds because she is "busy with other things". Is this legal? It sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.


gwenith, BSN, RN

3,755 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

Check your local therapeutic goods act/ drug administration act. If you can't find them (local library should have a copy) ask your local nurses union/ professional association. Here our Drug Admin Act allows for caregives to "assist" a patient to take medications which means that they can help IF the tablets have been prepackaged by the pharmacy into "Webster packs" (I have no idea of the American equivalent of that name - they are blister packs made up by a pharmacy that has the tablets sealed into times of day and days of the week). The help is only supposed to be to actually remove the tablet and take it NOT to administer - this is considered a different skill and is only to be done by those with drug competency.

One of your avenues might be to call the local health departement - at least you will be able to discover who administers the act goverering drug administration (there must be some authority) and discuss it with them. They will have insight into the act to tell you how it should be interpreted.

I hope this helps and gives you some avenues to pursue


189 Posts

Yes. This is possbile here in Oregon.

Caregivers, where I work, go through a small orientation and then are able to give medications. THey call them Med Aides here when they are able to give medications but basically they are Caregivers. Everything is really set up well so it all rtuns smoothly.

It sounds to me like this place your Mom is at is very unorganized. They shouldn't just be sending her out there. They need to keep things organized in charts and have daily drug counts. Or that is what I would assume they should be doing.


165 Posts

Where I work, the LPN's give meds. Well they go down the hall with a cart and a book that has the picture of the pt and the room number. The page tells what meds they take, dos etc. The give the meds to us and we give them to the pt. We put in in there food or something..but state is never to see us do it..lawsuit...


225 Posts

In asisted living caregivers may give meds but they are supossed to be trained and are titled med clerks. In board and care anybody passes meds. In home care it depends,,,agencies are restricteed..we may remind the pt it is med time, may bring them the meds,,,but they are required to take them. We may open a lid if when the local pharmacy sent out child proof caps to a pt with only one hand......


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