Managing meds or counting pills?

There has been a dramatic shift over the past decade in what we expect of a PCA. Care staff are being integrated into a range of medication management functions. But what kinds of resources and support structures are being used to coordinate this approach?

Nurses are obliged to ensure that PCAs are competent and capable of assisting with medications. Similarly, facilities are obliged to ensure that PCAs receive adequate supervision. What we need to remember is that for every responsibility there is a corresponding right.

Attending to these rights means observing residents, noticing day-to-day changes and making clinical judgements. RNs and ENs can do this because they understand body systems and medication management principles. In fact they are trained to use their medical knowledge and clinical observation skills to ensure positive health outcomes for their patients/residents.

So why do PCAs need to be skilled in medication management? There are a number of reasons why PCAs need to be competent and reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Duty of care, compliance requirements, risk management, quality assurance, or even HR policies may spring to mind. While all of these responses are perfectly reasonable, the more we think in terms of process the more we lose sight of the person.

Effective medication management is not about compartmentalising. It is about consolidating holistic approaches to clinical governance so that all relevant staff are empowered to nurture residents’ wellbeing.

These days PCAs are an integral part of the health teams that care for residents. Medication-competent carers help to ensure that residents receive robust healthcare because they are trained to do more than simply count pills.

Equip your staff to make significant contributions to resident health, team effectiveness and organisational standards. Call us now on 9527 2088 and ask about our tailor-made medication management course for PCAs and non-endorsed ENs.