7.2. Storage requirements for medications kept in labeled containers or medication reminder boxes.


 Storage of Medications
  • Medication storage areas, i.e., medication cart and medication room, need to be orderly so medication may be found easily.
  • Store medications in a locked area, unless medications are under the direct supervision of staff; direct supervision means the cart is in sight and the staff person can get to the cart quickly, if necessary.
  • Lock medication room/cart/cabinet when not in use. Unless the medication storage area is under the direct supervision of staff lock the medication, area including carts.
  • Store external and internal medications in separate designated areas.
  • Store refrigerated medications in the medication refrigerator or locked container if stored in refrigerator accessible to other staff.
  • Store medications requiring refrigeration at 36 degrees F to 46 degrees F (2 degrees C to 8 degrees C)


Prescription and non-prescription medications:
  1. Store “in a manner that ensures the safety” of clients;
  2. Clients shall not have access to medication which is kept in a locked central location;
  3. Locked central location recommended, however, alternatives are acceptable if:
  • Closed and locked drawer in client’s room in assisted living residence;
  • Closed backpack, purse or on the person of client of sound mind in adult day facility;
  • Closed wheelchair bag of non-ambulatory person in adult day facility;
  • Closed and locked file drawer in administrative area inaccessible to clients.


Medications requiring refrigeration

I. Shall be stored separately in locked containers or compartmentalized packages, containers, or shelves for each client in order to prevent intermingling of medication.

II. If there is a designated medication refrigerator and the refrigerator is in a locked room, then the medications do not need to be stored in locked containers


Controlled substances:

      A. Must be doubled-locked, counted and signed for using a second person for verification. Example: Locked portable medication box stored inside locked cabinet. QMAP counts number of pills, second QMAP or qualified manager watches and agrees the count is correct. Shift to shift count for accuracy should include the date, time, quantity remaining, and signatures of both staff.
B. Any discrepancy, report immediately to supervisor for suspicion/investigation of drug diversion.
C. What if a second person is not available? QMAP counts number of pills and signs. Next QMAP on duty shall verify the count and sign the narcotic count sheet prior to administering; discrepancy immediately reported to supervisor.
D. Count how often?

  • At the end of each shift;
  • Any time medication is given to a third party to take outside facility; count leaving and count upon returning.


Medication should not be stored with other items, must never be in areas with:
  • Disinfectants;
  • Insecticides;
  • Bleaches;
  • Household cleaners;
  • Poisons