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Should drug admin be delegated to HCAs?

  • Comments (43)

Should drug administration be delegated to HCAs? What do you think?

A recent research study found nine out of 10 care home patients are regularly exposed to drug administration errors, with half deemed to be serious mistakes. Lack of time and interruptions were identified as a major cause rather than lack of training.

Drug rounds for 345 older patients were monitored in “real time” over three months using a new barcode medication administration system. The system identified when a potential mistake was about to be made, alerting the nurse or care assistant so that an error was averted.

Study author Deidre Wild, a senior resarch fellow at UWE, told Nursing Times both staff and managers needed to be more aware of the “high level of risk of medication error” that residents were routinely exposed to and “greater effort needs to be made to protect staff undertaking medication rounds from other work demands”.

Ms Wild added that the findings highlighted the potential for increasing patient safety by using technology such as that used in her study.

She said care staff in nursing homes might be able to use it to safely deliver more simple medications, so registered nurses had more time for higher level nursing activities. But she warned: “This should not be perceived as an opportunity to reduce valuable registered nursing time in favour of employing more care staff at less cost.”

  • Comments (43)

Readers' comments (43)

  • Anonymous

    Drug administration should be done by registered nurses who have the knowledge to carry out this role. RN's are accountable for what they do, and are trained for drug administration. They also have the knowledge of pharmacology that the HCA's don't have, and can spot drug incompatibilities or contraindications that an HCA wouldn't be able to do as they aren't trained for it. If we are going to go down the road of HCA's doing the drugs, they will have to be registered and accountable for their actions, and be trained for that role. We registered nurses might as well give up then as HCA's would have encroached too far onto RN territory. Of course, they would be probably get band 4 pay which is cheaper than band 5, and therefore more affordable.. Cynical, me? yes, of course I bloody am.

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  • Anonymous

    Should drug administration be delegated to HCAs?

    No.

    Don't be so silly. They will not be interrupted any less than RNs, they don't have the training and the RN in charge will be held accountable for their mistakes.

    Anonymous | 30-Jan-2012 2:36 pm

    You are absolutely right.


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  • Anonymous

    @ Anonymous | 30-Jan-2012 2:36 pm
    and
    Anonymous | 30-Jan-2012 6:27 pm


    I agree with you both. Although some HCA's will receive training it is us RN who are accountable.

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  • Anonymous

    No.

    Next silly question?

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  • Anonymous

    I'm a Senior HCA and have worked in Neuro ITU for 10 years. Firstly, we are all accountable for our actions so read the policy before HCA bashing. If a HCA is stupid enough to think they know what thier doing regarding drug administration, on thier head be it. We've been without a governing body for years, it won't change, but it doesn't effect our accountability.

    If you think we want more responsibility for the same money, your having a laugh! I also love the fact that RN's always have the latest BNF to hand for the most simple maths! I've never administered drugs and all other HCA's should follow my example untill they've completed thier full Nurse Training!

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  • Anonymous

    " I also love the fact that RN's always have the latest BNF to hand for the most simple maths!

    spiteful remark which is not constructive and is irrelevant to the discussion!

    not everybody has a gift for maths and this is no reflection on their nursing skills. everybody has different strengths and weaknesses. surely it is better than making mistakes with calculations although what is the link between the BNF and simple maths? As long as nurses are using safe practice it is up to them how they choose to do it. such criticism does little to help good team working relationships.

    furthermore, I was not aware that staff are paid by tasks.

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  • Anonymous

    the article actually refers to drug administration in care homes and not hospital wards. It could be argued that residents in their own homes looked after by carers do not have registered nurses to administer all of their medication.

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  • Anonymous

    Seeing as most nursing homes do what they like and appear to be getting away with it, they might as well let carers give out meds as well as all the other nursing tasks they are already performing. But isn't that the whole idea of having carers in the first place? To eventually get rid of nurses as nurses and keep the select few as managers. Pay carers less and reduce the cost. And the RCN are playing along with this game by pushing for registration of HCAs. So effectively they will be nurses just not called nurses.

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  • Anonymous

    Completely agree with 'Anonymous | 3-Feb-2012 8:02 am'
    Very spiteful and completely unnecessary remark.

    Not having an aptitude for maths does not make you any less of a nurse. How does highlighting someones weakness help the team spirit on any unit?
    My maths skills are not as good as some but I have still managed to complete my BSc my MSc and reach a band 7 before I was 30!!

    If you pick up a BNF you would actually see that it is more an aide memoire for alot of equations rather than something to help you with simple maths.
    Also very helpful if someone is on a new drug to check to see what it is, what the dose should be (mistakes do happen with prescribing too as we all know) and to check for interactions.

    We have some very brilliant HCAs in our unit who do a fabulous job but giving out drugs with no idea about their phamacodynamic/kinetic properties and no idea what it is other than its name? Am sure they'd not want to do it either.

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 3-Feb-2012 3:56 am

    The article refers to Nursing Homes......but perhaps you didn't read it properly. Which brings me to my next point. Your obvious lack of understanding extends to a very basic issue.

    " If a HCA is stupid enough to think they know what thier doing regarding drug administration, on thier head be it."

    It isn't "...on their own head....", is it? What about the consequences for the poor patient and the nurse in charge, who IS ACCOUNTABLE for what happens in their ward/unit. Read the policy!

    I agree with you that HCAs should not administer drugs as they are not trained. However, no one here has been guilty of HCA-bashing. You are being over-sensitive.

    Finally, perhaps next time, you could address your own spelling and grammar before taking cheap shots at the arithmetical shortcomings of others.

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