Nurses can delegate medicine administration to carers under new rules

2nd April 2020

As care providers respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, the regulators have accepted that there nurses are likely to have to delegate tasks to care staff.

Guidance published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) yesterday recognises that care workers supporting people with their medicines must be appropriately trained and competent to carry out the tasks.

Injections, such as insulin, and medicines administered via a feeding tube, are clinical or nursing tasks ordinarily reserved to registered nurses.

The new guidance says that registered nurses may, if they are confident that the care worker is competent to take on the task, delegate the administration of such medicines to care staff.
Such delegation must always be in the best interests of the person receiving the medication. Providers will also need to consider how to obtain the consent of the person being medicated.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council Code says that nurses must be accountable for their decisions to delegate tasks and duties to other people and that they must;

  • only delegate tasks and duties that are within the other person’s competence
  • make sure that everyone they delegate tasks to are adequately supervised and supported
  • confirm that the outcome of any tasks they have delegated to someone else meets the required standard.

Care staff will need extra and more specific training and competency checks before undertaking such tasks at the provider’s expense.

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