Family carers’ administration of injectable medications at the end-of-life: a service evaluation of a novel intervention

Lisa O'Hara*, Catherine Evans, Ben Bowers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Timely and safe administration of injectable medications for patients at home is vital in optimally managing distressing symptoms in the final days of life. This article discusses a service evaluation of family carers' (including close friends) administrating subcutaneous end-of-life medications. The procedure was not intended to become normal care, rather the exception when appropriate and needed, with 24/7 skilled support from community nursing and palliative care services. A service evaluation of the procedure was undertaken in rural and urban areas in the South East of England. The procedure ran over 6 months and used detailed processes with recruitment criteria to mitigate risk of harm. In total, 11 patients participated with their family carers, including five carers with experience in healthcare roles. Of the 11 family carers, 10 were able to administer injections safely with structured training and support in place. Patients received timely symptom relief and their family carers were able to support loved ones by administering injectable medications rapidly without waiting for a nurse to arrive. This was particularly welcomed in more rural areas where waiting times were greater due to the large geographical area covered and limited staff availability during out-of-hours periods. The findings informed a carefully monitored wider rollout and ongoing evaluation in adult community nursing services in the NHS Trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-292
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Community Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2023


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