​​How should medicine be handled, stored and administered in a nursing home?

Information on good practice is provided in the Guide to the Handling of Medication in Nursing Homes in NSW. Information is also provided in the Commonwealth Department of Health Guiding Principles for Medication Management in Residential Aged Care Facilities.

What do I do with expired or unwanted drugs of addiction in a nursing home?

Destruction of drugs of addiction (Schedule 8 drugs) can be carried out by an authorised inspector of the NSW Ministry of Health (Pharmaceutical Services), the police, or your local pharmacy. The drugs must be destroyed on the premises.

It may be most convenient to contact the local pharmacy and make arrangements for the pharmacist to visit the nursing home to destroy the drugs. The pharmacist will carry out the destruction in the company of the Director of Nursing (DON) or his/her representative. A record of the destruction will be made in the drug register maintained by the facility and must include the date, the name, professional registration number and signature of the pharmacist, and the name and signature of the person who witnessed the destruction.

Can a nursing home or other aged care facility obtain medicines for emergency use without a prescription?

Under certain conditions the Director of Nursing (only) can write an emergency order to obtain from a pharmacy up to minimal quantities of medicines chosen from a certain strictly limited list of drugs of addiction (see clause 103 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008  or restricted substances. This applies only to a nursing home (“high care” facility). The nursing home may acquire stocks of a limited range of medications for emergency use subject to a number of conditions. The medications may include such drugs as adrenaline, oral antibiotics, atropine sulphate injection, and diazepam. For more details see Residential care facilities. For further advice contact the Duty Pharmaceutical Officer at Pharmaceutical Services on (02) 9391 9944 during business hours.

Where can I order a drug register?

All persons engaged in the manufacture, distribution, sale, administration or supply of drugs of addiction must keep a register. Drug registers, as well as ward registers, can be purchased from the state government printing contractor Finsbury Green.

A drug register can be ordered by emailing Finsbury Green at nswhealth@finsbury.com.au

All orders will need to be paid for by credit card at the time of placing the order. The following registers are available for purchase, with a minimum order of 1 book:

  • Ward Register of Drugs of Addiction NH612005 - Form H22
  • Register of Drugs of Addiction NH612000 - Form H21
Finsbury Green Help Desk may be contacted by telephone on 1800 515 222 but only after an order has been placed.

Drug registers may also be purchased from some pharmaceutical wholesalers and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Subsidiary Drug registers for the dosing of methadone, Subutex and Suboxone (each one has their own) are available from the NSW Pharmacy Guild  on (02) 9467 7100.

Current as at: Friday 20 October 2023
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services