Know your clients - know their meds

4 Dec 2018 10:08 PMJen Fitzgerald
Know your clients - know their meds

Whether you are a Home care worker or a PCA it is important to get to know your clients/residents' medical condition and one way is via their meds.


As a home care worker you may have the luxury of supporting only a few clients so getting to know them is fairly easy. This knowledge should also include the medications your clients are taking. However, if you work in a residential facility, you don’t have the time to look up meds but you can quickly ask your RN. This will increase your all-round medical knowledge and mean you are more than “just a PCA”.


Why is this important?

As a Support worker it is your role to make observations about your client’s condition and report to your supervisor and/or primary caregiver (PCG). These obs may include day-time drowsiness, mobility, mood swings and/or continence. If you know what your residents/clients meds are for, and their side effects, then you are in a better position to report changes on a persons' condition.


Case study

A recent case study highlights why it is important for a support worker to know about meds.

Mr Hay has a support worker visit for 3 hours of respite three times a week. Mr Hay has Lewy Bodies dementia and Parkinson’s. He is on meds for anxiety, anti-psychotic, a heart condition, reflux and depression. Mr Hay has recently been falling out of bed and is restless at night. He is also incontinent. His PCG is not getting much sleep and is feeling tired all the time. His PCG does all the housework and meals for the two of them plus takes him to regular doctor appointments.


The support worker can make obs based on the known about the side effects of the meds My Hay is given. The anti-psychotic and the anti-depression meds can result in increased drowsiness. This can mean a higher chance of falls, the peak times being early morning and evening and overnight for Mr Hay.



The Support worker can increase supervision while transferring Mr Hay during showering and moving around the home knowing he may be drowsy.

The support worker can also suggest a better chair for Mr Hay so that he can get out of easily himself. This will help encourage movement so he doesn’t stay in the chair too long and sleep too long during the day – which the leads to increased nighttime wandering.


The Dementia Australia website has a comprehensive section about drugs that relieve the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

The web page lists different behaviours and the common drugs used to treat them. It also lists side effects. Read here>>

Read this through and get to know your clients better by getting to know their meds.