What is self-administration?

Self-administration of medicines or self-medication is where you or your carer is given responsibility for taking your own medicines, just as you would at home.

What are the benefits of self-administration?

  • It helps to improve your knowledge of your medicines and the reason why you are taking them.
  • It allows you to maintain your independence whilst in hospital.
  • It helps the ward team to identify any problems you might have with your medicines and to provide you with additional information and support if needed.

What does self-administration involve?

You will be assessed by a member of the ward team.  They will go through each medicine with you, telling you the name of each one, explaining what it is for and when they should be taken.  They will also look at your own medicines to see if they are in good condition and properly labelled.

You may be assessed or supervised by the nursing staff when self-medicating to help build your confidence.  As problems are resolved you may take your medicines independently.

If you decide to self-medicate then the ward staff and pharmacy team will still be able to help if required.  If you wish to ask for assistance or want to come off the scheme then you are free to do so at any time.

What will happen to my own medicines?

You own medicines will be kept safely and securely in your bedside locker.  Do not share your medication with anyone else.

What if I don’t have enough of my own medicines, or I start to take something new?

Further supplies of your current medicines, or new medicines, will be ordered from pharmacy. These will be fully labelled with instructions and, as well as taking them on the ward, you will be given them to take home

What if I become unwell during my admission, or need to have an anaesthetic?

If your condition changes, or if you need to have a procedure under anaesthetic, your nurse or pharmacist will assess whether you are still able to take your own medicines. If not, your nurse will take over giving you your medicines until you recover.

What happens when I go home?

The doctor will write a prescription for all the medicines you are taking. The ones you have been taking will be reviewed on the ward.  This is to make sure there are enough supplies and they are correctly labelled. Your medicines will be given back in time for you to go home. If you have any questions about the medicines you are taking home, do ask the nurse, doctor or pharmacy staff.  Please remember to return the key/fob to a nurse when you leave hospital.

What about my medicines at home?

If you come into hospital, it is best to bring your own medications with you – this is even more important if you wish to self-medicate.

Remember to bring everything you take into hospital – even if it is not prescribed by the doctor (this means any medicines you have bought including herbal remedies).  Also remember that items such as inhalers, eye drops, patches and creams are considered medicines. A member of the pharmacy team will go through your medicines with you when you are admitted.

Contact details

Patient Medicines Helpline: 01935 384936

Email: medicines.information@ydh.nhs.uk

Ref: 23-18-104
Review: 09/20