Folder Homely remedies

Care homes - Homely Remedies

Care home staff have a recognised duty of care to be able to respond to minor symptoms experienced by residents. A homely remedy is a medicinal product for the short-term treatment of minor ailments such as indigestion, coughs, mild to moderate pain and constipation. They can be obtained without a prescription and are usually purchased by the care home or sometimes by the resident. There are two categories of homely remedy: GSL (general sales list) which are widely available from supermarkets, pharmacies and other stores; and P medicines (pharmacy) which are only available from a pharmacy.

Where a care home provider offers residents treatment for minor aliments with homely remedies, a process for use should be in place and this should be recorded in the care home medicines policy (NICE Guideline Development Group (GDG).

Advice from a healthcare professional, such as a GP or pharmacist, on the use of homely remedies should be taken for each resident in advance, or at the time of need.

The GDG recommended that all care home staff using a homely remedies protocol should be named in it and that they should sign to confirm they are competent to administer the medicinal product.

The guidance recommends that homely remedies protocols should include:

  • Which medicinal product may be administered and for what indication it may be administered - which residents may be excluded from receiving specific homely remedies e.g. paracetamol should not be given to a resident who is already prescribed paracetamol.
  • The dose and frequency - maximum daily dose.
  • recording administration of the homely remedy, such as on the medicines administration record (MAR) chart - duration of use before referring the resident to a GP.

Key points:

  • If a homely remedy protocol is in use it is good practice to make the GP aware of this, and to agree the duration of time that the treatment with the homely remedy can continue before the resident needs to be referred to the GP. - the use of the homely remedy should be reviewed periodically and taken into consideration when there are changes to the medication regimen.
  • Only stock purchased by the care home for administration under the 'Homely Remedies Policy' may be used and only prescriptions listed in the homely remedies policy may be administered without a prescription - if the resident or their relative has purchased the homely remedy it should be agreed with the GP.
  • Products labelled for an individual resident, i.e. for whom a prescription has been issued, must not be given to another resident as a homely remedy. Nor should those purchased by a resident for their personal use be administered to other residents - bulk prescribing is not a suitable way of obtaining homely remedies.  


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pdf Homely Remedies and OTC treatment (care homes and dom care) policy FINAL ( pdf, 773 KB ) (426 downloads) Popular
pdf Position Statement Self Care and Home remedies for patients receiving care ( pdf, 207 KB ) (327 downloads) Popular