The government will provide a free 4-month supply of daily vitamin D supplements for residents in residential and nursing care homes in England to help support their general health, in particular bone and muscle health. Each daily supplement will contain 10 micrograms (400 international units (IU)) of vitamin D. This one-off 4-month supply will be delivered directly to residential and nursing care homes from January 2021.
The full national guidance from the Department of Health and Social care is available online.
- Care home providers should give residents the choice and offer the four-month supply of vitamin D supplements as part of nutritional and hydration requirements and in line with existing procedures regarding consent.
- The vitamin D supplements provided are a food supplement and are not a prescribed medicine. The supplements provided are equivalent to those that are readily available in retail outlets such as supermarkets, pharmacies and health food shops.
- Care home managers, or staff with the relevant authority identifies which residents should take vitamin D supplements outlined in section 2 of the national guidance.
- All care home providers will need to record provision of vitamin D supplements. Resident’s care plans should be updated to reflect whether they will be provided with a daily vitamin D supplement and how they will be supported to take it in line with section 3.3 of the national guidance.
- Care home managers, or staff with the relevant authority should record on a daily basis, whether a vitamin D supplement has been provided and taken by a resident as part of their daily care routine. Care home providers can choose where to record the provision of vitamin D supplements, so it aligns with their existing processes and it is the least burdensome approach. For example, this could include a MAR, daily notes or nutrition or dietary records.
- Care home providers should ensure that a new, handwritten MAR is created by a member of care home staff with the training and skills for managing medicines. The new record should be checked for accuracy and signed by a second trained and skilled member of staff before it is first used.
- Care home providers should ensure that medicines administration records (paper-based or electronic) include:
- The full name, date of birth of the resident
- Details of any medicines the resident is taking, including the name of the medicine and its strength, form, dose, how often it is given and where it is given (route of administration)
- Known allergies and reactions to medicines or their ingredients, and the type of reaction experienced.
- When the medicine should be reviewed or monitored (as appropriate)
- Any support the resident may need in taking the medicine (adherence support)
- Any special instructions about how the medicine should be taken (such as before, with or after food).
- Each daily supplement will contain 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D. The vitamin D supplement provided will be in a liquid form and 2 drops is equivalent to 10 micrograms.
- Care home providers must store medicines securely and only authorised care home staff should have access.