Jul 14, 2021

Nurses steal prescription medication from aged care residents

Prescription drugs worker

The women, Kelly Michelle Morgan, 36, and Bryanna Marie Govin, 24, were charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, as well as attempting to provide false information, providing false or fraudulent information, unauthorised nursing practices, neglect of vulnerable adults, and trafficking in illegal drugs.

The charges related to incidents that mainly occurred prior to June 2020.

In Australia, the Guiding Principles for Medication Management in Residential Aged Care Homes require that management “should ensure all medicines … are stored safely and securely”.

Administration of medication in aged care should be monitored for “safety and quality,” the guidelines state.

Aged care management should also consider the design and location of medicine storage, and make “preventing unauthorised access” a priority.

NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation requires anyone authorised to be in possession of addictive or prescription medication must immediately inform the Director General of Health of any loss or theft of the medication.

In addition, there is sometimes little supervision of medication administration to ensure the resident actually receives the medication they require.

To further complicate matters, aged care residents may not be able to communicate when they don’t receive their medication, or they may not even be aware they have missed a dose, allowing drug theft to go undetected, at least for a time.

Drug theft in aged care homes is a serious crime that not only puts the health of the resident at risk, it can leave the resident with unmanaged pain – both are intolerable for frail and unwell older people.

Are you aware of drug theft in aged care? Share your experiences in the comments below or email [email protected].

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