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Your thoughts on medication aides in LTC facilities

June 4, 2009
by Kevin Kolus
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Would you advocate for medication aides in your facility if the state allowed for them?


- Rolina has medication aides in some of their nursing homes. It is a dangerous liability for any nurse who has to oversee or supervise. Some may be good but the majority is not. We speak of the nursing shortage however this is not a viable option. It is more to administering meds than one thinks. You also need to have assessment skills to know when you can and cannot administer. Passing a state test is not enough along with one year’s experience. If you think we are inundated with advertisements on TV regarding nursing home lawsuits let this pass.

- That is a professional nursing domain!!!!!

- NO, I do not think it is a good idea. Why don’t you advocate for a position for serious medication reviews to cut or combine meds. Therefore REDUCING the number of meds given to older, more compromised people?!?

- They free up the nurses’ time and we already have them in our facility.

- We have them already and they are great.

- Yes. Not for freeing up time for other aides but freeing up time for the LPN or RN. We use them and they are a great help.

- The nurses are so overwhelmed in this setting, that this direction may be necessary in long-term care. Facilities today simply cannot: A) find enough nurses or B) afford to pay them a competitive wage—between the workforce shortage and minimal state/federal reimbursement. These positions will be inevitable.

- This is usually the only time a nurse has time to assess a resident. Communication is a huge problem at most places. It puts the residents and nurses at a high risk. I worked with med aides and it was terrible. Want to add to this discussion? Speak your mind in the comments below.

Kevin Kolus

Kevin Kolus


Kevin Kolus wrote for Long-Term Living when he was an editor. He left the brand in 2012...



Since I have lived in a nursing home for 13 years, I think medication aides are a good idea. I know of other programs in Ohio who use delegated nursing or medication aides. I think that a properly trained aide could pass most medications, possibly excluding narcotics. I know from personal experience it is terrible to have to wait an hour or so for a couple of over-the-counter pain pills. I know it causes residents to become much more anxious.

I also think that aides could do some of the less involved treatments for residents. This would free up the nurses to do the other things which are less redundant and time-consuming.

There is a question of how communications will be passed on to the nurses. I think that would need to be worked out.

I agree medication administration is better left in the licensed nurses domin, but... since most facilities have difficulaty even filling licensed or registered nurse positions, the use of the med aide is an acceptable alternative with adequate supervision and oversite.

We have used medication aides in our facility for years. They are a great asset to the Nursing Department. Medication Aides free up time for the LPNs an RNs to complete other important tasks. If facilities ensure that CMAs are trained, and that the training is on-going throughout employment, liability is significantly decreased. Staff should be assigned to work the same wing, which provides consistency, and makes it easier for staff to know when changes occur with a resident.