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Medication policies are specific to the place of work and are planned in detail. You should ensure that you know the policies of any place you work at and do not assume anything, as each workplace may be different.  Items in the medication policy will include:

• Receipt of medications
• Storage of medications
• Disposal of medications
• Returns of medications
• Medication tracking
• Consent
• Errors
• Other relevant documents

There are various medication administration systems. We have our blister packs which are generally what you'll receive from the pharmacy, which will have all the medications in separate compartments and will also list on the other side exactly what the medication is, the dosage to be given, when it's to be given, how many times, and it will have your patient's name on it.

Other systems you may see include Dosette boxes or a similar compartment system such as the Bio Dose system, which can hold 10ml of liquid medication or seven capsules or tablets in the administration pots. We would never administer medication from a system that has no information on it, such as it not having the persons' name on it, when they are supposed to take it, the dosage and what the medication is. So, we obviously should not be giving medication if we don't know what it is.

There are also types of systems that are generally used for people at home, those that put their medication in at the beginning of each week. They are listed at the top morning, noon, evening and night and then the day is down the side. There will be printed labels with all the information. So, you need to make sure that the number of tablets in each compartment matches the labels. So, if there are three tablets for the morning, then obviously there should be three tablets in the compartment. There is less chance of error with this system.

If you are unsure whether the medication has been given or it hasn't been signed for in the MAR (Medication Administration Record) chart, which we'll talk about later, you can obviously just check the blister pack and this should give you an indication.