D. The 5 Rights of Medication Assistance

Assisting a resident to take their medication includes knowing that the:

  • RIGHT RESIDENT takes the
  • RIGHT TIME by the

Many of us have made sure that our children, spouses, or parents have taken medications as prescribed by a doctor. That is what assisting a resident to take medication means: providing assistance to the person to take the medication safely. Because you may be assisting more than one person and each person may be taking multiple medications, providing assistance safely can be complicated.

  1. RIGHT RESIDENTMake sure you know who the residents are. If you are a new employee or have new residents, work with another staff member who knows the residents. Some facilities keep pictures of residents (with their permission) with the MOR. You should still confirm the resident’s identity with the resident.
  2. RIGHT MEDICATIONCheck the medication three times. Check the MOR. Check the medication label. verify the labeled container with the MOR. Read the label to the resident.
  3. RIGHT DOSAGECheck the dosage. Make sue the resident takes the correct amount of medication, whether it’s in spoonfuls, tablets, or drops.
  4. RIGHT TIME Medications must be given at the time prescribed. Standard practice is that medications must be given within one hour before or one hour after the time indicated on the label and MOR.
    Medication given outside that time span is a medication error.
  5. RIGHT ROUTEGiven the medications in the manner directed. For example, ear drops are placed in the ear, etc.NOTE: Take the time to provide assistance safely and with consideration for residents’ privacy. If you cannot assist all the residents to take their medications in a reasonable amount of time, you may have more people to assist than you can safely handle. Talk with your supervisor about the need for another trained person to share the assignment.

Do not provide assistance if you feel uncomfortable.


  • If you do not understand the medication instructions.Ask a nurse, if you have one on staff, the health care provider or the pharmacist for assistance.
  • If you do not know the resident.
    Ask another staff member who knows the resident.
  • If you cannot assist resident properly and safely.
    Notify your supervisor or the ALF administrator.