Medication Assistance for Residents with Dementia

This week’s Tuesday Tip comes in response to a question posted on our blog.

“Is a resident with dementia allowed to be retained in an RCFE when she requires her medications to be “fed” to her?”

This is a great question, and common challenge encountered in RCFEs. The short answer, is whether a resident has dementia or not, the same rules of medication assistance apply:

Medications may only be “administered” by the resident himself/herself, or by a licensed medical professional (e.g., RN, LVN, etc.).

Your trained caregivers/medication aides are limited to “assisting with self-administration.” So in this situation, that would mean your staff could pour the medication into a cup or other appropriate utensil, but the resident would have to consume the medication on his/her own.

6 Responses to “Medication Assistance for Residents with Dementia”

  1. However, a spoon is a great prompt for a resident to to consume something and as long as it is disclosed the medication is on the spoon, that is a good utensil. Just cannot “push” med into mouth. Allow resident to self consume.

  2. Remember too that, as with any resident, we cannot crush meds to “hide” them in food. We must have consent from the MD, the pharmacy (along with an indication as to what the meds may be mixed with) and the resident or responsible party.

    The consent from the MD and resident/responsible party should read “for ease of swallowing” so it doesn’t appear we are requesting crushing to disquise the med or hide it.

  3. hi..i can’t help but give my 2 cents…these people who make all these regulations should go board and care facilities and see for themselves how things are.i am sure these “experts” know that 85-90% of residents are “fed” their meds.if they are unable to do this w/o assist,does this make them inappropriately placed? are they then supposed to be in snf ?let’s face it,a very very small %age of these 6-bed facilites have nurses-if at all.i am sure the state is aware of this but will only look into it if there is an incident or a everything with licensing,all is reactionary.a majority of these residents are very well taken care of by their caregivers who walk a very fine line knowing the state is being very careful not to be sued if a problem arises by claiming the rules are there to be followed but apparently its not up to the state to enforce them…nice

  4. Eric… I think we all sympathize with your frustration. Research shows consistently that medication aides–when properly trained–commit no more errors than nurses do when assisting residents with medications in the assisted living/residential care setting.

  5. seems like all the “Regulation” tight up our hand to do what need to be done to take care our resident.Dementia resident sometimes they forget to put their meds in to their mouth by them self. I agree that most RCFE did not have a nurses on duty ’cause RCFE is not a nursing home.

  6. And if the dementia patient in RCFE is presented with medication in a cup, or otherwise presented, are the RCFE staff required to wait to see if the patient acutally consumes the medication, or do they walk away and leave the patient to consume without being observed to consume it or dispose of it otherwise? What are the documentation requirements?

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