Aged care facilities

  • Do medicines in an aged care facility need to be stored in a locked storage facility?

    Yes.

    For dispensed medicines (i.e. Medicines that have been affixed with a label by a health practitioner, such as a pharmacist (but not a nurse), where the label would indicate that the medicine is only to be used on a specific patient. Dispensed medicines could be supplied in dose administration aids, (such as Webster® packs) or in original containers. 

    • Schedule 4 dispensed medicines: Must be stored in a locked storage facility (such as a locked cupboard, or in a trolley within a locked medication room) that is accessible only by those staff that should access Schedule 4 dispensed medicines (such as nurses or a personal care assistants that has been permitted to access the dispensed medicine by the nurse that is managing the care of that resident).

    (This is outlined in Regulation 75 of the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017).

    • Schedule 8 dispensed medicines (controlled drugs, such as fentanyl or morphine): Must be stored in a locked storage facility that is firmly attached to the floor or a wall (which doesn't necessarily have to be a safe) that is accessible only by those staff that should access Schedule 8 dispensed medicines (such as nurses or a personal care assistants that has been permitted to access the dispensed medicine by the nurse that is managing the care of that resident).

    (This is outlined in Regulation 75 of the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017).

    For un-dispensed medicines (i.e. Medicines that have NOT been affixed with a label by a health practitioner, such as a pharmacist, where the label would indicate that the medicine is only to be used on a specific patient; An un-dispensed medicine could potentially be used for any patient on an order of a medical practitioner). An aged care facility should hold a health service permit in order to be in possession of un-dispensed medicines.

    • Schedule 4 un-dispensed medicines: Must be stored in a locked storage facility (such as a locked cupboard) that is accessible only by those staff that should access Schedule 4 dispensed medicines (such as nurses but NOT personal care assistants).

    (This is outlined in Regulation 73 of the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017).

    • Schedule 8 un-dispensed medicines (controlled drugs, such as fentanyl or morphine): Must be stored in a compliant safe that is accessible only by those staff that should access Schedule 8 dispensed medicines (such as nurses but NOT personal care assistants).

    (This is outlined in Regulation 74 of the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017).

  • Does the administration of Schedule 8 medicines to residents need to be recorded in a Schedule 8 register?

    If the Schedule 8 medicines has been dispensed into a dose administration aid (such as a Webster® pack) - then No.

    If the Schedule 8 medicines has NOT been dispensed into a dose administration aid (such as a Webster® pack) - then Yes, the administration must be recorded in a register.

    (This is outlined in Regulation 110 of the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017).

    (Schedule 8 medicines are controlled drugs, such as fentanyl or morphine)

    (Schedule 8 register is a book where drug administration can be recorded. The pages of the book must be consecutively numbered; and the spine of the book must be bound, so it would be quite obvious is a page was torn out).

  • Can personal care assistants have access to medicines in an aged care facility?

    Personal care assistants should not have access to any un-dispensed Schedule 4 or 8 medicines at all. 

    (i.e. Un-dispensed medicines are those that have NOT been affixed with a label by a health practitioner, such as a pharmacist, where the label would indicate that the medicine is only to be used by a specific patient; An un-dispensed medicine could potentially be used for any patient on an order of a medical practitioner).

    However, personal care assistants may assist a resident in an aged care facility in taking their own dispensed medication when permitted to do so by the nurse that is managing the care of that resident. 

    This is outlined in:

    Sub-Regulation 7(1)(8) of the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017, where:

    • Personal care assistants would be considered persons who are assisting in the care of a resident and
    • Sub-Regulation 7(1)(8) refers to Sub-Regulations 7(1)(5) and 7(1)(6), which relate only to medicines that have been supplied by health practitioners (i.e. "dispensed" medicines)
    • Section 36E of the current Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act, which indicates that a registered nurse must manage the care of aged care residents, so should permit personal care assistants to assist a resident in taking their own dispensed medication).
  • Do records need to be made for the administration of medicines to residents at an aged care facility?

    Yes - regardless of whether the medicines are dispensed or not. 

    (This is outlined in Regulations 107 and 108 of the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017).

    Also note the second questions for aged care facilities.