Medication Administration in NDIS Care: A Support Worker’s Guide

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) requires support workers to competently manage medications for participants who require them. This involves ensuring that medications are administered in line with written policies and procedures, and relevant legislation and standards, to support the health and well-being of people with disabilities.

In this guide, we delve into the medication management framework, describe the types of medications that may be dispensed, and explore common medication errors and the protocols necessary to eliminate them.

Care Provider Obligations Under the NDIS

NDIS providers have obligations under the NDIS Act 2013 and rules to ensure that people with disabilities are supported safely with person-centred care in the administration of medications.

The NDIS Commission is working to reduce and eliminate the inappropriate use of restrictive practices, including the inappropriate prescription of psychotropic medications, emphasising the importance of using medicines for health, not control.

For those aspiring to excel in this field, or to further enhance their expertise, enrolling in a disability support course is a proactive step forward. The Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) course offered by Skills Training College, includes supporting NDIS training and is designed to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to thrive in this vital role

What are the key components of the medication management framework?

The Medication Management Framework is the responsibility of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, specifically within the context of Disability Support Workers and Disability Support Providers.

The purpose of the framework is to facilitate the safe and quality use of medications, particularly in the context of Disability Support Workers and Disability Support Providers. It aims to ensure that medications are managed in line with relevant legislation and standards, supporting safe and person-centred practices.

The key components of a medication management framework typically include the following:

  1. Medication Prescribing: This involves the process of a medical practitioner or health professional deciding what medication, in what amount, and for what period, a patient should take.
  2. Order Processing: This includes the transcription and verification of the prescription, as well as the review of the patient’s medication history and clinical information.
  3. Medication Dispensing: This step involves the preparation and packaging of the medication for administration to the patient.
  4. Medication Administration: This encompasses the actual giving of the medication to the patient by a healthcare professional.
  5. Effects Monitoring: This involves the ongoing assessment of the patient’s response to the medication, including the monitoring of any side effects or adverse reactions.

These components are essential for ensuring the safe and effective use of medications within a healthcare setting.

NDIS worker giving out prescribed meds

What kind of medications might a disability support worker be responsible for dispensing?

Disability support workers may be responsible for dispensing various types of medications, including prescription and non-prescription medications, as well as complementary healthcare products.

These medications can come in different forms, such as tablets, capsules, wafers/melts, pastilles or lozenges, liquids (oral), topical skin preparations, eye and ear drops, nasal drops/sprays, inhalants, and transdermal preparations.

It’s important for support workers to be trained in medication management to ensure the safe administration of these medications, as inappropriate or incorrect use can pose serious risks to individuals with disabilities.

Follow Policies and Procedures

Additionally, support workers should be familiar with applicable policies and procedures related to medication management and adhere to relevant legislation and standards to support the health and well-being of the individuals they care for.

What are the common medication errors made by support workers?

Common medication errors made by support workers can include:

  1. Wrong Dosage and Infusion Rate: Administering the wrong dosage or infusion rate is a common medication error.
  2. Wrong Medication: Administering the wrong medication, route, or frequency, which accounts for almost 50% of medication errors, is a prevalent mistake.
  3. Prescription Errors: Errors in the ordering or prescribing stage, such as writing the wrong medication, dose, route, or frequency, are common medication errors.
  4. Human Factors and Lack of Knowledge: Medication errors can be caused by human factors, lack of knowledge on the part of the pharmacist, and organisational shortcomings, leading to mistakes in medication management
  5. Inadequate Training and System-Related Causes: System-related causes, inadequate training, and organisational hazards can contribute to medication administration errors.

By being aware of these common errors and implementing preventive measures, support workers can help reduce the occurrence of medication errors in their care practices.

How can support workers ensure they are administering medication safely?

Support workers can ensure they are administering medication safely by following established protocols and guidelines. One commonly used approach is the “7 Rights of Medication Administration,” which includes ensuring the right patient, right medication, right dose, right route, right time, right reason, and right documentation.

Furthermore, promoting patient involvement in the safe administration of their medications and empowering them to voice any questions or concerns can contribute to safe medication administration practices.

By adhering to these principles and involving patients in the process, support workers can help ensure the safe administration of medications in NDIS care.

Assistance with over the counter medications

How can support workers verify the patient’s identity before administering medication?

Support workers can verify a patient’s identity using various methods, including:

  • Name: Asking the patient to state their name.
  • Date of birth: Verifying the patient’s date of birth.
  • Assigned identification number: Such as a medical record number.
  • Photo: Matching the patient’s identity with their photo.
  • Other identifiers: Such as phone number, Medicare number, or address.

In a professional healthcare setting with multiple clients, it is recommended to use at least two identifiers, such as name and date of birth, to verify a patient’s identity upon admission or before administering care. This helps ensure the right patient receives the right care and treatment, contributing to patient safety.

Summing Up

In summary, this article has briefly examined the critical role of support workers in managing medications within the NDIS framework. It underscored the importance of adhering to a comprehensive medication management framework, understanding the types of medications that may be dispensed, and recognising common medication errors.

Additionally, it highlighted the necessity for support workers to ensure safe medication administration and the importance of patient identification in this process. For individuals interested in pursuing a career in this field or enhancing their skills, understanding these aspects is crucial. To further explore this vital area and the appropriate training needed, check out our article on qualifications to work in NDIS for more information and opportunities.

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