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Navigating Medication Administration in NDIS Care

NDIS medication administration

Table of Contents

Sharon McCulloch

The NDIS, Medication Management, and You

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the arm of the Australian government which provides financial assistance to people living with disability. These funds can be put to use toward a wide variety of services designed to improve the participant’s life and help them achieve their goals. One of the most common uses for this money is to help people living with disability pay for support workers.

NDIS providers and support workers can perform a wide range of activities to assist people living with disabilities. From driving them to the shops, managing their NDIS funding, and helping them with daily tasks such as getting dressed, bathing, and administering medication.

Just about anyone can become an NDIS support worker, whether they intend to help a loved one or a stranger through local community organisations. But no matter who you end up helping and what tasks you assist them with, all support workers have legal and ethical obligations they need to adhere to. Medication management and administration have their own responsibilities that NDIS support workers need to navigate. So if you’re a support worker or you’re considering becoming one, here’s what you need to know when it comes to helping your clients take their medication.

Duty of Care

prescription medication handout

The responsibilities disability support workers have when it comes to their duty of care, particularly medication administration and management, are profound and incredibly significant. Ensuring proper medication is delivered correctly is not just crucial for maintaining the health and well-being of their clients, it’s an integral part of their legal responsibilities to their client and their duty of care.

Failing to fulfil these responsibilities can have serious consequences. When medication is not administered correctly, not only can it adversely affect the health of their clients, but the support worker in question is the one held responsible. Failure to properly fulfil their obligations can lead to their inability to continue as a support worker.

Few support workers are health professionals. Many are just looking after family members or loved ones in need of extra support without the same level of medication knowledge as a medical practitioner. But this doesn’t mean they don’t have the same level of responsibility when it comes to medication administration for their clients. The most responsible thing an ordinary person in this position can do is take a simple, one-day medication training course to ensure they understand their obligations, giving them the same competency and proficiency as a professional.

In addition to taking a medication course, there are some other things you should know that can help you administer medication. Following are just two of the best things to know to help you look after your clients as an NDIS support worker.

The Seven Rights of Proper Medication Management

There are several simple ways that medical and healthcare professionals ensure that mistakes don’t occur when it comes to administering medication to their patients. One is a mnemonic device called The Seven Rights of Medication Administration. In some workplaces it is known as the five rights, but at the heart of this technique are seven simple steps that anyone can remember to make sure they administer medication correctly. These are as follows.

Right Patient

For NDIS caregivers with only one patient, this shouldn’t be an issue. But for those with multiple patients, it’s a must to make sure that the name on the medication matches the name of the patient that it is being administered to. This step also helps administrators of medication remember not to give prescribed medication to anyone who it is not prescribed for, no matter how effective or appropriate it might seem.

Right Drug

For new and old NDIS support givers alike, medication often has complex names that they won’t immediately remember or that might be easy to mix up with other medications. This step is as simple as double checking that the medication that you have is the one you think it is; administering the wrong medication can have serious adverse effects.

Right Dose

Even the right medication can go wrong when the dosage isn’t correct. Even when it comes to over the counter medications, an amount that’s too small will at best have no impact and not lead to the betterment of the patient. At worst however, giving too much medication, even if it’s the right one, can be just as bad as administering the wrong medication.

Right Time

Prescribed medication needs to be taken a certain number of times each day, and often at particular times that are in line with their support plan. When it comes to confirming you have the right time to administer medication, what you’re really asking is has this person had their current dose yet or not. An incorrect time can lead to the same impacts as an incorrect dosage.

Right Route

Not all medication comes in pill form. Medication can be administered to patients via injections, sprays, and many other ways. As an NDIS support worker, when it comes to administering medication you might have to do more than just asking patients to swallow a pill, and when this happens you need to know how and where the medication is meant to enter the body for it to be effective.

Right Reason

When administering medication, one must know whether or not the medication on hand is appropriate for the patient and their condition. Painkillers are no good for a patient who lives with a disability relating to mental health. A patient shouldn’t be taking medication that they don’t need, even if they ask for it. At best, unnecessary medication will have no positive impact on the patient’s health conditions, and at worst it can cause them harm.

Right Documentation

After administering medication it’s important to document the entire process that you just undertook. From where the medication came from, which medication it was, who it was for, and so on, creating medication documentation is vital for preventing medication management mistakes and tracking down what happened when they occur. Complete and accurate medication documentation is a vital part of the legal, ethical, and professional standards of a caregiver.

Medication Management and Webster-Paks

blister medicines packed

Webster-Paks are a medication administration aid designed to help people remember when to take their medication as prescribed. They are sealed blue plastic and cardboard packs with 28 clear compartments in which the patient’s medication is stored until it needs to be taken. These compartments come in 7 rows, one for each day of the week, and four columns, one for morning, noon, night, and bedtime. 

Most commonly used by patients with chronic diseases who are on multiple medications, Webster-Paks are an affordable and handy option available from most Australian pharmacies and prescribers of medication. They’re an easy way for both patients and any support workers who assist them with taking medication to keep track of where they’re at in terms of the patient’s medication regimen.

Enrol in a Medication Administration Course

These tips are just that, tips. They’re simple advice to help anyone who administers medication keep track of their responsibilities, but they’re no substitute for appropriate training in medication administration.

A medication administration course is affordable, easy, and it gives students the skills and knowledge to administer medication according to professional healthcare standards. Without this training, NDIS support workers are at risk of making more frequent and graver mistakes, leading to negative impacts for their clients. Nothing is more important that the health, care, and well-being of your patients, so if you’re an NDIS support worker or you’re thinking about becoming one to look after someone you love who is in need, enrol in a medication administration course today through First Aid Pro to fully ensure you understand your responsibilities and to give NDIS participants peace of mind.

The content on this website offers general insights regarding health conditions and potential treatments. It is not intended as, and should not be construed as, medical advice. If you are facing a medical emergency, dial 000 immediately and follow the guidance provided.

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