Sometimes people will refuse medication. This may be verbally communicated, be implied by their body language or behaviour and can be for various reasons.

Staff must NEVER force the service user to take their medication.

If a service user does refuse to take their medication it may also be necessary for staff to:

  • Try to ascertain the reason and explore solutions with them. Staff may need to try to encourage the person to take their medication by explaining what the medication is for and stressing the importance of taking it. (e.g., to relieve pain)
  • Offer the medication a little later or ask another staff or household member, if available, to try to offer the medication.
  • Seek immediate further advice from a line manager or health care professional.

Refusal to take medication must be taken seriously, recorded on the Medication Administration Record (MAR), and reported to the manager who may also need to follow up by seeking further advice from a health professional such as the service users GP, pharmacist, or district nurse.

The provider will also need to follow Kirklees' shared protocol for home care packages and inform other providers if other providers support the service user.

Further guidance

Managing medicines for adults receiving social care in the community | Guidance | NICE

Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice | GOV.UK

When people with dementia refuse help | Dementia | SCIE

Do I have the right to refuse treatment? | NHS (

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