When a medication risk assessment is required

A medication risk assessment needs to be completed where any risks or potential risks associated with a service users' medication are identified. These can include storage of medication and fire risks where there is use of creams or emollients containing paraffin. Refer to Kirklees Good Practice Medication Guidance for creams, bath preparations and ointments.

What needs to be included in a medication risk assessment

A medication risk assessment should follow the five steps that should be applied to any other type of risk assessment. These five steps are:

  1. Identify the hazards
  2. Decide who might be harmed and how
  3. Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures
  4. Record your findings and implement them
  5. Review your risk assessment and update as necessary

Who needs to be involved in compiling a risk assessment

The provider will need to involve the service user when carrying out a risk assessment wherever possible. In some situations, it may also be necessary for the provider to involve the service user's representative and/or other professional stakeholders for example, a social worker, pharmacist, district, or specialist nurse.

When a risk assessment for medication need to be reviewed

Medication Risk Assessments should be reviewed:

  • When there are any changes to medication, circumstances, or procedures
  • At least annually
  • If it is no longer valid

Providers should also remember to amend the support plan to reflect any changes made to a risk assessment.

Where risk assessments be kept

A copy of the service user's medication risk assessment must be placed in the service user's home for all staff to see and a copy kept on the office file. If an electronic record system is in place, a copy of the medications risk assessment will need to be easily accessible or made available, along with all other relevant support documents required for staff and other relevant parties to be able to read and follow.

Requirements to compile a medication risk assessment

It is not necessary to have specific formal training or qualifications to carry out medication risk assessments. The person completing the risk assessment must however be confident and competent and have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to understand and identify risks and support requirements for staff. Extra help or advice may be required from a senior colleague or health care professional if the person carrying out a risk assessment does not have sufficient experience or knowledge or if the risks are complex.

Further guidance

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