Giving medicines covertly: overcoming the challenges

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What is this webinar about?

Covert administration of medicines is when medicines are given in a disguised form without the knowledge or consent of the person receiving them, for example in food or drink.

Adults should not be given medicines covertly unless they have been assessed as lacking the mental capacity to make decisions about their health or medicines. If this is the case and it is assessed as being in their best interests, they may need to be given medicines covertly. Care professionals who provide medicines support need to be aware of the Mental Capacity Act and its Code of Practice and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards to protect both the person and themselves.

Covert administration of medicines is a complex process. Even those with a good understanding of the legal requirements and plenty of experience of providing medicines support may occasionally face challenges when making decisions about achieving the best outcomes for people.

NICE produce evidence-based guidance, advice and quality standards supporting best practice in adult social care. There are a number of NICE recommendations and quality statements on covert medication and there is an overview of the topic in the NICE/SCIE quick guide - Giving medicines covertly.

This webinar offers an opportunity to find out about evidence-based practical solutions for overcoming challenges to giving medicines covertly.

It will cover:

  • Capacity and consent – ensuring that decisions comply with legislation

  • Recording decisions and updating care plans

  • Medicine refusal where the person does have capacity

  • Making urgent decisions

The webinar will be led by:

  • Cherise Howson – Pharmacist, Croydon CCG; NICE Medicines Associate

  • Mindy Bhalla, Pharmacist Specialist, Care Quality Commission Medicines Optimisation Team

  • Melanie Weatherley - CEO Walnut Care at Home, Chair Lincolnshire Care Association, Co-Chair Care Association Alliance, NICE Fellow 2019-2022

Who should join the webinar?

The webinar will be of particular interest to care home and home care managers providing medicines support. It will also be useful for care staff providing medicines support.


A recording of the webinar will be available on both the NICE and SCIE websites after the webinar has taken place. Please note that if you contribute written comments during the webinar, the comments (including your name) will be visible to anyone who accesses the recording.

Please email if you need any further information

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