8. Medication Policies

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PCAs may assist with self-administered medication: Medication taken by mouth, injection, nebulizer or insertion, or applied topically without the need for assistance.  Means the client directly swallows, applies, inhales, inserts, or injects a medication into his or her own body.

A personal care assistant (PCA) may assist with medication.

Assisting includes:

  • Reminding the client when to take the medication
  • Reading the prescription label for the client
  • Bringing the medication and any necessary supplies or equipment to the client
  • Opening the pill bottle or container
  • Positioning the client in a good position to take the medication
  • Providing water or other liquid for swallowing medication
  • Storing, cleaning and disposal of used supplies and equipment
  • Putting away and storing medication properly

Once the task to supervise self-administration of medication is delegated to the PCA, a supervisor or family member should train the PCA specific to the task.

A PCA must follow the care plan and be directed by either the client who can direct their own care or a responsible party.  A responsible party does not have to be present when the PCA assists with taking medication. However, the responsible party must assure the medication is set up as individual doses and labeled with:

  • Name and dosage of the medication
  • Time the medication is to be given
  • Method to assist the person to take the medication

For medications given on an as needed basis the client must self-direct the PCA or the PCA must notify the responsible party before assisting with the medication.

PCAs do not..

  • Determine the dose or what time the medication should be given.
  • Decide if the client needs medication or decide if the medication is working or not.
  • Inject fluids and medications into veins, muscles, or skin.
  • Cannot crush medicine and put it in applesauce, or pudding, or similar substance.
  • Put medication in the person’s mouth.
  • Insert vaginal or rectal suppositories.
  • Apply prescription or non-prescription cream or ointment to a wound or a sore.
  • Cannot EVER pre-fill medication boxes

If you drop a medication, or the med box, if the pills do not appear to be correct, do not administer the pills, call your supervisor.

If family members are telling you or trying to convince you to administer medication, contact your supervisor.  PCAs cannot administer medication.