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13.5 First Aid Home Remedies and Medication


This chapter relates to children placed in residential care. It covers first aid, home remedies and medication, storage and the necessary recording.


The Children’s Homes (Amendment) Regulations 2011

Children's Homes Regulations and Quality Standards 2015

The Health and Wellbeing Standard

Also see Promoting the Health and Wellbeing of Looked After Children


  1. First Aid
  2. Home Remedies  
  3. Key First Aid/Medication Records held in the Home  

    Appendix 1: Administration of Medication Guidance

    Appendix 2: Specific Issues re Administration of Medication  

    Appendix 3: Administration Away from the Home

    Appendix 4: Skilled Health Tasks

    Appendix 5: Personal Child Health Record (Red Book)

    Appendix 6: Address of Community Trust Pharmacists

1. First Aid

  • Each Home must have a qualified First Aider on duty at all times;
  • First Aid boxes must be held in each home and vehicle used for the transportation of children, they should have a white cross with a green background;
  • The medicine book must include the full quantity of each item stipulated in the box. When an item has been used, then it should be replaced as soon as possible. Antiseptic wipes should be used where necessary (not TCP).


The administration of First Aid must be recorded in the First Aid Log, (if there has been an accident) Accident Book, individual Child's Daily Record and Medication Administration Record (MAR).

2. Home Remedies

  • Each home's Statement of Purpose should list the Home Remedies that may be used; this list should be approved by a local GP/Medical Practitioner;
  • Homely Remedies are medicines that can be bought over the counter, including, Aspirin, homeopathic, herbal, aromatherapy, vitamin supplements or alternative therapies.

Homely Remedies are only for the use of the young people in the home, with the approval of relevant social workers (and set out in children's Placement Plans) or as prescribed by a GP and with the approval of parents/carers where possible

  • Home Remedies should be purchased for named individual children; the containers should be labelled with the child's name;
  • When a Homely remedy container is opened, staff should record the date of opening to ensure it is not kept beyond its expiry date;
  • No child may be permitted to 'self-administer' Home Remedies unless approved by their social worker, with the arrangements outlined in the Placement Plan.


The administration of any Home remedies must be recorded in individual Child's Daily Record and Medication Administration Record (MAR).

*Paracetamol must not be given for more than two consecutive days without the approval of a GP/Medical Practitioner.

3. Key First Aid/Medication Records held in the Home

Each Home should keep the following records:

Record Purpose
First Aid Log To record any administration of First Aid
Accident Book (Recorded electronically on SR3/5 Well worker system) To record any accidents
Medical Record Individual record for each child, details of health related issues, medication used, name of GP
Medication Administration Record (MAR) Individual record for each child to record any medication (or Home Remedies) administered etc

3.1 Ordering On-going Medication

Some young people will have prescribed medication, which is on-going. This should be ordered on monthly basis where possible. Responsibility for ordering these medicines is that of the Registered Manager or a delegated person/member of staff.

When ordering, a note must be made of:

  • The name of the young person;
  • The name, strength, form and quantity of the medicine;
  • The name of the surgery/G.P.;
  • When the prescription will be ready.

When ordering, staff should check stock levels before ordering. To minimise wastage and reduce risks of errors, stock levels should be kept to a minimum (No more than six weeks stock).

3.2 Collecting Prescriptions

Staff should collect prescriptions from the GP/surgery and check to make sure that they have received all the prescriptions they have ordered and the quantities are correct before taking to the pharmacy. If a medicine has directions of 'as directed' or 'as before' then the surgery should be asked to amend the prescription. A photocopy of the prescription should be made and stored until the medicine is received back from the pharmacy. Staff should check with the pharmacy as to when the prescriptions will be ready for collection (they may be able to wait on it).

3.3 Receiving/Collecting Medicines

Staff must take their ID when collecting medicines or controlled drugs.

When the medicines are collected, staff should check the medicine against the photocopied scripts that they have. Any discrepancies should be brought to the attention of the pharmacy and rectified as soon as possible. The shift leader must ensure that medication is put away properly by two competent members of staff.

The Pharmacy will be able to give advice on:

  • Potential side effects;
  • Advice on how the medicine should be taken;
  • Advice on whether the medicine may be affected by any other medicine;
  • Whether the medicine should be stored in the fridge;
  • If the medicine is a Controlled Drug.

Staff should ensure that the medicine has been properly labelled. If the medicine does not have a dispensing label on it then it should be returned to the pharmacy. Staff should also make sure that they have received a Patient Information Leaflet from the pharmacy. If it hasn't been received then the pharmacy should be contacted and one requested.

The receipt of medication should be recorded on the individual child's Medication Administration Record (MAR), if a Controlled Drug has been prescribed, 2 staff should record/sign the record.

3.4 Administration

NOTE: all staff must be familiar with the following detailed guidance on the administration of medication:

Guidance Required Where to find it
For detailed guidance on the administration of medication Appendix 1: Administration of Medication Guidance
For guidance on specific issues, e.g. refusal to co-operate, if a child is missing/absent, covert administration Appendix 2: Specific Issues re Administration
For the administration of medication away from the home e.g. if a child is on holiday or having contact with his/her parents Appendix 3: Administration Away from the Home
Skilled Health Tasks, e.g. for children with Diabetics Appendix 4: Skilled Health Tasks

Medication should be administered as set out on the label or instructed by the GP/Medical Practitioner.

No child may be permitted to 'self-administer' unless approved by their social worker, with the arrangements outlined in the Placement Plan.

Administration should be recorded on the individual child's Medication Administration Record (MAR), if a Controlled Drug has been administered, 2 staff should record/sign the record. Residential homes may also have their own, specialist systems for recording, which compliment this procedure

3.5 Storage and Expiry Dates

All medicines must be kept in a safe/secure place, e.g. a locked cabinet that does not exceed 25C*. A key should be held by a senior/responsible member of staff identified on shift planning records

Medicines that are taken internally should be stored separately to those used externally in the medicine cabinet, with liquids preferably on the bottom shelf.

* Medicines that require refrigerated storage should be kept in either a dedicated lockable fridge (in the staff office) or a locked box inside the food fridge. In both cases the maximum and minimum temperature should be recorded on a daily basis on the handover sheet. Both these temperatures should be between 2 and 8C.

All medicines have expiry dates, usually clearly stated on the label, upon expiry, they should be disposed of, see below.

3.6 Disposal

Medication should be disposed of when:

  • The expiry date has been reached;
  • The course of treatment is completed;
  • The medication has been discontinued.

Unless instructed by a GP/Pharmacy, unused/expired medicines should be returned to the pharmacy, and a receipt obtained.

This should be recorded on the individual child's Medication Administration Record (MAR), and the receipt attached), if a Controlled Drug has been disposed of, 2 staff should record/sign the record.

Appendix 1: Administration of Medication Guidance

All medicines must be administered strictly in accordance with the prescribers (or as advised on the packet in relation to homely Remedies) instructions. Only the prescriber (e.g. GP) can vary the dose. Medicines must be locked away in the locked storage areas when not in use and the keys for these areas must be kept in the key press.

Before administration, staff should:

  • Wash their hands;
  • Make sure they have a pen that works;
  • Enough glasses for each young person receiving medication;
  • A jug of water;
  • A supply of clean dry medicine tots.

The procedure for administration is as follows:

  • Check the young persons identity (a photo is normally kept in the young persons file). Only one young person should be administered medication at a time, this reduces the risk of mistakes being made;
  • Check the young persons medical profile;
  • Check the medication on the Individual Medication records corresponds with that on the young persons Medical Profile;
  • Check the Individual medication record sheet to ensure that someone else has not already given the medication;
  • Check the expiry date and use by date (where appropriate) on the medication;
  • Check the amount to be given at that time;
  • If opening a new container, add the date;
  • Measure or count the dose without touching the medicine. (See COSHH assessment)
  • If the medicine is a solid (such as a tablet) then carefully place into a medicine tot and offer to the young person. They may wish to put it in their hand or swallow straight from the medicine tot;
  • If the medicine is a liquid, take care not to drip onto the label. If the amount to be measured is less than 5ml, then use a medicine syringe otherwise use a medicine spoon or measure;
  • If the medicine is a cream or ointment, then it should be squeezed directly onto the young person's finger to apply them. If necessary to be applied by staff, then latex/pvc gloves must be worn;
  • When administering a Controlled Drug, another member of staff prior to it being given must check the dose;
  • Watch the young person as they take their medicine- some are known not to swallow the dose;
  • Offer the young person a drink of water (where appropriate);
  • Check that the medication is recorded in all the appropriate records;
  • Print and sign your name against each medicine administered;
  • Record when medicine has been refused / not taken and the reasons why;
  • If a young person is absent when medication is due- this should be recorded;
  • Do not sign for any medicines that you have not administered or witnessed yourself;
  • If a young person refuses to take medication, under no circumstances should they be forced to do so;
  • Medication must be kept in the original labelled (by the pharmacy) containers and not put into weekly/daily medical boxes;
  • After administration the medicines should be returned to the cabinet immediately and the cabinet locked;
  • Each time you give medication, remember that it is important to consider the time of administration. Care should be taken to ensure that if the medicine is required to be taken before food, that this is made to occur. Similarly the administration of some medicines such as eye drops or inhalers may not be suitable to be given at meal times. Not all medicine administration times will fall in line with meal times.

Appendix 2: Specific Issues re Administration of Medication

Swallowing Problems

Staff may find that some young people may struggle with swallowing their medicines. The young person's doctor should be contacted for an alternative. Under no circumstances should staff take it on themselves to crush tablets without seeking advice from the doctor or pharmacist. Any advice given should be recorded.

Medication Refusal

When a young person refuses to take their medicine, then the G.P. should be contacted for advice. This information must be recorded and followed if the young person has refused. Young people cannot be forced to take their medicines.

If a Young Person is Absent when the Medicine is Due

When a young person is absent and their medication is due, this should be recorded. When the young person returns to the unit, then staff must consider the time delay and seek advice from the pharmacist or the doctor depending on the time of day. To miss taking a medicine completely can be dangerous depending on the medical condition.

Covert Administration

Covert administration is where a medicine is hidden in food and the person does not know that they are taking it. Residential staff must not hide any medicine in food.

Lone Working

In some homes, staff may be required to work on their own for a period of time. It may be the case that the administration of a medicine will have to happen during this period. Staff should ensure that they double check themselves and record the period of time for when they were lone working.

This can be a problem when administering Controlled Drugs. It is important that the young person receives their medicine at the correct time therefore the member of staff administering the medicine, must also record that they were lone working in the register. It is not acceptable for a staff member to sign the register when they come in. You cannot be a witness to something you have not seen happen.

Spilled Medicines

When a medicine has been dropped on the floor then this must be placed to one side for disposal and a note must be made in the records. A second dose should be offered to the young person.

When a medicine has been spat out then again this must be placed to one side for disposal and a note made in the records. However a second dose must not be offered, as staff will not know how much has been absorbed. The doctor should be contacted.

Detached or Illegible labels

If a label becomes detached from a container or is illegible, then staff must seek advice from the pharmacist. Until this advice is received then the container should not be used.

Secondary Dispensing

Staff must ensure that medicines stay in the containers supplied and labelled by the pharmacist. Medicines must not be placed in daily or weekly medicine trays.

Medication Errors

In the event of an error being made in the administration of any medication, advice must be sought from the young persons G.P. or another medical practitioner/ help line immediately or as soon as the error has been discovered. Staff must record the advice that they have been given and inform the Manager.

Verbal Alterations

There may be times when it is necessary to stop or change the dose of a young person's medication without receiving a new prescription. Verbal requests to change medication by the doctor must be confirmed by fax before any changes are permitted. These changes must be recorded on the Individual Medication Record in the file. Staff must note the change, the name of the doctor, the time the fax was received and the date. Staff must not alter the dispensing labels. A note may be added saying 'Refer to record for new instructions'. Staff should check the next prescription to make sure these new changes have been implemented.

Adverse Drug Reaction

Any adverse drug reaction or suspected adverse drug reaction should be reported to the G.P. before further administration is considered. Advice should be sought on whether the medicine should be stopped or the treatment carries on.

Drug Recalls

When a Drug Recall notification is received then staff should check the medication to see if the unit is holding any stock. If there is none in stock then the notification should be signed, dated and filed for reference.

When stock if found that is listed on the drug recall, then staff must follow the directions given after isolating the stock.

Foreseeable Emergency Situations

Some of the children who are cared for have medical conditions which require regular planned medication. Others may have a medical condition which can necessitate emergency intervention where a prescribed medicine, issued to them for that purpose, for example, children who may be subject to epileptic fits or who have respiratory problems).

It is essential that staff are adequately trained and that essential information is clearly communicated by management during handovers, thus ensuring that despite changes in staff due to rotas/shifts, personal care of the individual is as consistent as practicable.

Where the young person has been prescribed medication or treatment to be taken in an emergency situation, this should be discussed prior to admission - the procedure will be agreed by the individual's GP, and where necessary in consultation with specialist medical advisers (e.g. consultant or paediatrician). The advice of the family and, where possible, the individual will be sought.

When procedures for the emergency administration of medication or treatment has been agreed with the GP, it is essential that there are sufficient numbers of staff on duty at all times, who are adequately training and are familiar with the procedures.

This training will be provided by the appropriate medical or nursing arrangements of the Health Authority. The Child Health Doctor of the Community Child Health Unit will provide advice on this.

In no circumstances will staff give injections, although individuals may inject themselves as part of a planned and agreed programme or medication, for example for the treatment of diabetes.

Children who Self Harm

If a young person with a risk of self harm, particularly from misuse of prescribed or illegal drugs, requests a prescription for a drug which may enable them to self harm, the General Practitioner should record his / her exploration of the following options:

  • Ascertain whether the prescription is really needed or other management options can be safely explored;
  • Where clinically indicated and/or the risks of not prescribing outweigh the risks of prescribing, the General Practitioner should encourage the young person to allow their social worker/residential care worker to be involved. This will enable the member of staff to offer support, and encourage correct dosing;
  • Where the young person will not allow a member of staff to be involved and they are deemed to be Fraser Competent, their statutory right to confidentiality and to receive treatment must be respected. If the general practitioner perceives the risk of not prescribing to outweigh the risk of prescribing, it is good practice to prescribe, whenever possible, these drugs which, whilst effective for their intended use, are least dangerous in overdose, and should consider prescribing fewer tablets at any one time (NICE guidelines).

Appendix 3: Administration Away from the Home

If a child spends time away from the Home, either on home visits, holidays or time spent at school, any medication due to be taken must be kept in the original labelled container.

Any medication taken away from the Home should be appropriately recorded on the individual child's Medication Administration Record (MAR), showing what medication has been taken away/handed over to carers/parents. The person receiving the medication should countersign the record.

If the carer/parent wishes, a copy of the MAR should be handed over to them, so that a record of administration can be kept; this may be handed back to the home when the child returns.

If the person who is responsible for the child is a member of staff, then they must complete the documents for administration while they are away as normal.

The medication should always be handed over to someone responsible for the child.

Appendix 4: Skilled Health Tasks

This applies to specialist or skilled healthcare tasks, for example:

  • For diabetic children;
  • Physiotherapy programme;
  • For the use of Buccal Midalozam;
  • For the use of Rectal Diazepam.

If a child requires a skilled health task to be undertaken, this will only be carried out with the written authorisation of the prescribing doctor in relation to the child concerned, and either set out in a Placement Plan or other written plan.

Appropriate training will be provided, together with written guidance, included how the skilled tasks will be recorded.

Appendix 5: Personal Child Health Record (Red Book)

By 1991 the Health Authorities had introduced a Personal Child Health Record (Red Book) which is given to parents of all new born babies for safekeeping, to provide a comprehensive record. This Personal Child Health Record will be used by the Community Home for any children Looked After, whose parents have previously been issued with it.

It replaces previous forms (CH/RES/MED/4 and Form R.H.M.).

The Record is a confidential document and will be stored in a locked room.

Access to the individual Record by the young person or others will be governed by the same principles and procedures as the other recordings on the case file.

be held on the case file as a precaution in case the original is lost.

Appendix 6: Address of Community Trust Pharmacists

Nottingham Community
Trust Pharmacist
City Hospital
Hucknall Road
Tel: (0115) 9426000

Bassetlaw Community
Trust Pharmacist
Pharmacy Department
Bassetlaw Hospital
Community Services
NHS Trust
Blyth Road
Tel: (01909) 500900

North Nottinghamshire
Community Trust Pharmacist
Pharmacy Department
Harlow Wood Hospital
NG18 4TH
Tel: (01623) 635431 ext 5666