Self-administering medicines in hospital can benefit patients and organisations alike and should be encouraged wherever it is safe to do

About self-administration

Self-administration of medicines (SAM) is a multi-disciplinary process designed to give individuals the opportunity to continue to take their own medication whilst in hospital, and to provide knowledge to patients about their medicines. Although the focus of this article relates to an inpatient setting, the principles also apply to virtual wards and services that provide out-of-hospital care to patients within their usual place of residence.

Where possible and as long as it is safe, patients in hospital should be encouraged to continue self-administering their own medicines.


This article series aims to:

  • outline principles for consideration when implementing self-administration schemes
  • identify best practice examples from current practice

Benefits to patients

Self-administration schemes can help to:

  • provide patient-centred care and improve patient satisfaction
  • empower individuals who are already confident in taking their own medication to continue to do so, if appropriate
  • encourage independence and encourage self-care in a safe environment whilst minimising the risk of incorrect administration
  • improve an individual’s knowledge of their medication, increasing their understanding and concordance with medication regimes, hence reducing future medication related admissions
  • prepare individuals and carers for discharge, establishing any support systems which will be required by the individual after discharge

Update history

  1. First published as HTML webpages
  2. Published

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