A smiling pharmacist handing over medication to an elderly gentleman whilst behind a counter with a backdrop of shelves containing medicines

Multi-compartment medication device

Supply of medicines to care settings: Original packs VS multi-compartment medication devices (MMD)

Medicines are usually supplied to care homes in one of three types of MMD or in original packs. When a medicine is supplied in an original pack, it will be supplied in the boxes/bottles that your medicines provider received them from the wholesaler. Occasionally they will be supplied in plain boxes or bottles if the quantity to be supplied is different to the quantity in the original pack.

Medicines should be administered from containers dispensed and labelled by the pharmacy or dispensing GP. Staff should administer medicines from these original containers and be able to identify and record each individual medicine they administer.

The three main types of MMD include:

  • Cold sealed MMD – otherwise known as monitored-dosage systems (MDS)
  • Heat sealed MMD – most commonly used in care settings
  • Self or lay carer filled pill organiser (dosette box)

Heat Sealed MMD:

  • Medication is placed in plastic blister which is covered with special foil
  • The foil covered blister placed in heat sealer
  • The sealed blister is then placed in a coloured plastic cover that corresponds to the time of day the medicine is to be administered
  • All heat sealed MMD will have a different blister for each medicine and each time of day

Tablets 1

Cold sealed MMD:

  • Some are similar to heat sealed MDD
  • Individual medicines are sealed and racked according to time of day that the medicines are to be administered
  • Others have all the medicines to be administered at particular times of day in the same slot Eg. Venalink, Nomad, Pluspark, My Med

Tablets 2

Tablets 3

Medication supplied to care settings are placed on racks according to the time of day they are to be administered.

Colour Coding

Self or lay carer filled pill organiser:

Occasionally residents may have a self-filled pill organiser (dosette box). This may be filled by a relative or friend. Carers should not fill these pill organisers for residents as this constitutes secondary dispensing.

Secondary dispensing is when medicines are removed from original dispensed containers and put into pots or compliance aids in advance of administration. When this happens it is difficult to check the medicine’s name, strength and dose, therefore can you accurately complete the residents’ medication administration record?

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This article is from the free online course:

Medicine Administration for Carers

UEA (University of East Anglia)