In care homes, Medication Administration Record (MAR) charts are used for documenting medications prescribed to residents. MAR charts include important information such as:
- Name of the resident
- Time and dates the medication is to be taken
- Names of the medications prescribed
- Dosage of the medication
- Initials of the person administering the medication
As a new caregiver, you have to follow important guidelines while filling out the MAR chart medication sheets. We have curated a few useful insights on filling MAR charts to help you.
1. Organise well: Write down the information from the prescription in an organized way. If you are using paper-based MAR charts, make sure that your handwriting is legible. All prescriptions should contain:
- Name of the resident
- Prescription date
- Date of birth of the resident
- Prescribed medications
- Dose of medication
- Instructions for taking the medication
- Number of pills or number of days that the medications are to be taken
- Refills (if applicable)
2. Pay close attention:
As a new caregiver, one of the most important responsibilities is to ensure what prescriptions state and how you transcribe them onto the MAR chart medication sheets. If you are unsure of any instructions on the prescription, ask the doctor who prescribed the medication or pharmacy for clarification.
3. Understand basic abbreviations:
When transcribing prescriptions to MAR chart medication sheets, make sure that you understand basic abbreviations and write them accurately. Some common abbreviations are “mg” for milligrams, micrograms (mcg), or grams (g).
4. Understand when to administer the medication:
You should administer the medicine at the same time each day and at intervals that are appropriately spaced apart. If you have any questions about when or how to administer medication, be sure to ask the prescribing doctor.
5. Follow the 8Rs of medication administration:
You should follow the 8 rights of medication administration such as the right medication, right resident, right route, right dose, right documentation, right time, right to refuse, and right response. Following the 8 rights of medication administration leads to better resident safety.
6. Stay with the resident:
Stay with the resident until the medication is taken and make sure that it is swallowed (if orally given). You cannot document that medication was taken unless you see that it was swallowed or taken (as applicable).
7. Give medications only from containers:
When giving medication to a resident, always check the container to make sure that it is properly labeled. For prescription drugs, this means checking that the pharmacy label is intact and includes all the necessary information. For over-the-counter drugs, make sure that the manufacturer’s label is intact and includes all the relevant information. This may seem like a small step, but it is essential for ensuring that the resident receives the correct medication in the correct dose.
Though many care homes in the UK have started using Electronic MAR charts. There are still many care homes that use printable MARs. With printable MARs, clerical errors and poor handwriting can cause confusion which can lead to medication errors. Different features of Electronic MAR charts make it easy to fill charts easily and access information quickly. Using Electronic MAR charts, you can also set alerts so that you do not miss any medication. If your care home has already started using Electronic MAR charts, make sure that you attend the training and understand all the features.