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Nurse Delegation Print E-mail


Nurse Delegation allows our caregivers to receive special authority to administer some medications or do some procedures that might otherwise require a family member or other medical professional to be present. This can be very helpful when your loved one can no longer take medications with assistance only. Nurse Delegation requires client and caregiver specific training on tasks that are usually only performed by licensed nurses. It has been practiced for years in Washington’s adult family homes, but was only authorized for Home Care agencies in late 2003. Professional caregivers routinely assist with medication for their clients, however Nurse Delegation May BE REQUIRED if the person receiving care is unable to take their medication with assistance and needs medication administration instead.

CareForce is one of the first non-medical Home Care agency in the greater Seattle area to offer NURSE DELEGATION services in private homes.  Nurse Delegation offers a less expensive alternative to licensed Nursing care when medication administration is required and family members are not available or they do not wish to take on this responsibility.

What is the difference between medication assistance and medication administration?  Washington State Law has always allowed professional caregivers to provide medication assistance as long as it is designated in your plan of care. However medication administration must be done by a client, family member or licensed medical professional if oral, rectal, ointments, or eye drop medications are ordered by your physician.

MEDICATION ASSISTANCE - A professional caregiver can help with medications as follows:

  • Communicating appropriate information regarding self-administration;
  • Reminding/coaching the individual/client to take a medication as prescribed
  • Reading the medication label
  • Handing the medication container to the client;
  • Using an enabler or placing the medication in the hand of the individual;

A Caregiver May help with Medication without Nurse Delegation as follows:

  • Communicating appropriate information to the client by reading the medication label 
  • Handing the medication container to the client;
  • Using an enabler or placing the medication in the hand of the individual;
  • Opening the medication container;
  • Altering or preparing medications for self-administration (e/g/ crushing or cutting tablets, opening capsules, mixing tablets, capsules or powdered medications with food or liquids ) with documentation of the consultation regarding the appropriateness of the alteration and preparation.
  • Pouring liquid medication into a graduated container or syringe, such as a medication cup or measuring spoon.
  • Identifying which mediset portion should be opened and handed to client by the time and day on the mediset, then handing to client or helping them to use an enabler.
  • Assisting the client to feed crushed meds in applesauce to themselves.

MEDICATION ADMINISTRATION - must be done by a family member or licensed health care provider OR Nurse Delegation may be used when the following tasks are required:

  • Placing the medication in the clients mouth
  • Putting your hand over their hand to place the medication in their mouth
  • Feeding crushed medication to the client in pudding or applesauce.
  • Rubbing prescribed ointment on a rash
  • Giving a rectal suppository
  • Administering eye drops or ear drops to a client

If your loved one requires that oral, rectal, ointment, eye drop medication be administered, CareForce offers the service of NURSE DELEGATION.

CareForce is pleased to be one of the first home care agencies in Washington able to offer this service to our clients. We have Registered Nurses available to assist with delegation should you or your loved one need this resource.

HOW IS DELEGATION HELPFUL? Without delegation, there are certain instances when a family member or friend must be present to administer the medication, you must hire a LPN or RN, or consider sending your family member to a care facility. Many clients do not have family or friends who can be present to administer medications. Sometimes family and friends need a break from the constant care of a loved one. LPN’s and RN’s are expensive to have on an hourly basis providing care and are in short supply. Nurse Delegation allows clients, family and friends to keep their loved ones at home and receive the best possible care.

For additional information on the Nurse Delegation Law, click here.