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Can I send medications home with a patient?

No. It is against Texas State Law to send medications, which are dispensed from the inpatient pharmacy, home with the patient.


Texas State Law (Operational Standard 291.33) requires outpatient pharmacy prescriptions to have specific items on a dispensing label. These items include, but are not limited to, the name of the provider, phone number to the pharmacy, refills remaining, proper storage requirements and clear instructions on how to take the medication.

Giving inpatient medications for patients to take home is considered dispensing which is outside nursing scope of practice.

How does this work for the “Meds to Beds” program?

Prescriptions filled by an outpatient pharmacy (such as CVS or Walgreens) and delivered to the bedside are okay to be sent home because they meet the outpatient labeling requirements and are ultimately being dispensed under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. This helps ensure that a patient has access to critical medications upon discharge.

Can I send a partially used container, such as an inhaler or cream, home with a patient when he/she is discharged?

No. Medications dispensed in the hospital should NOT be sent home with the patient for the same reasons outlined above.

What if a patient brings their own medication to the hospital and there is still some left?

These medications belong to the patient and considered as their property. These medications should be sent home with the patient, but it is important to verify that it is the right drug for the right patient. Risks associated with giving another patient’s medication to a patient at discharge include, but are not limited to, disease transmission, HIPPA violation, over dosage and potential allergic reactions. Also, the patient should be educated regarding his or her discharge orders and whether or not to continue taking that medication.

Contact a Houston Nurse Defense Lawyer Today for Assistance

If you are a nurse in Texas that may be facing disciplinary action by the Texas BON or have questions about the process, contact Houston nurse defense lawyer Yong J. An by calling or texting him at (832) 428-5679 (day, evening or weekends).