The Patients Association’s Care Home Charter is an evidence-based and expert-led tool to help improve medication practices for people living in care homes across the UK.

You can download the Charter in full here.

This page goes into more detail about what care home residents can expect from care home staff and management.

When I am staying in a care home, I expect the people responsible for my care to:

  1. Actively involve me in decisions about my medicines

As a resident, you should always be involved in decisions about what medicines you take, when and how you take them and any changes to your medicines. If you can no longer make these decisions, a healthcare professional and family member will become involved to make sure you continue to receive the best possible care. 

  1. Help and support me make shared decisions about my medicines.

Everyone looking after you will make sure you have as much information about the effects of your medicines as possible. If you are worried about anything to do with your medicines, the care home staff will listen to you and suggest alternatives if possible. Everyone responsible for your care will be made aware of these decisions and discussions. 

  1. Involve me in regular monitoring and review of my medications and make sure I understand why this is being done

As you get older, your needs may change. Therefore your medicines need to change to make sure they are still the best ones for you. This means they will be checked regularly so they keep you as well as possible.

  1. Make sure that medicines are given to me in a form and route appropriate to my needs and abilities

The way in which my medicines are given to you will be checked regularly to make sure you can still take them easily. It may be that you need a change in the formulation of your medicines. Staff will ensure that the formulation choice remains appropriate for you. 

  1. Make sure that medicines will only be given with my consent unless I lack the capacity to do so

Your Human Rights mean that you should always be treated with dignity and respect. It is against your Human Rights if a carer tries to give you a medicine against your wishes. 

  1. Respect the advance decisions or directives I make regarding refusing medicines

As a resident, you may choose to decide what treatments to accept or refuse in the future. Your wishes will be recorded and respected.

  1. Make sure that medicines are not given to me hidden in my food or drink unless it is in my best interests and all legal requirements have been met

You should never be given medicines against your wishes. This means that your medicines should not be hidden in your food and drink, without you knowing it is there. In extreme cases if a resident lacks the mental capacity to make decisions about their medicines, a ‘best interest’ meeting with the healthcare team and your representative may occur. 

  1. Examine my mouth to ensure that my oral health needs are being met

Sometimes as you get older, parts of your mouth don’t work as well as they used to. This means your mouth may be dry and it may be difficult to swallow. Your carers will regularly check that your mouth is healthy to prevent any problems. 

  1. Recognise when I am unable to swallow safely

Some illnesses can make it more difficult to swallow your medicines and your carers should check that you are able to swallow. They will look for signs of swallowing difficulty and make sure it is safe for you to eat and drink. You may need to see a speech and language therapist who will look at your ability to swallow. Your medicines will also be reviewed so you can take them easily and safely.

Return back to the main Care Home Charter pages here.

Download the Care Home Charter here.