At-risk groups to receive free winter supply of vitamin D
The government published a press release on 28 November 2020 advising that a free supply of vitamin D during the winter months will be offered to approximately 2.7 million vulnerable […]
The government published a press release on 28 November 2020 advising that a free supply of vitamin D during the winter months will be offered to approximately 2.7 million vulnerable individuals in England.
Vitamin D supplements will be supplied to clinically extremely vulnerable patients and care home residents. These groups are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency as they have spent more time indoors this year. A free one-off 4 months’ supply will be delivered directly to residential and nursing care homes from January 2021 to last through the winter months.
On 15 January 2021 the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued
further advice for care homes ‘Vitamin D and care home guidance’. The guidance includes ‘expectations of care home providers’, refer to section 1.3.
It is not necessary that the resident starts taking the vitamin D as soon as it is received. In all cases you need to discuss with their GP or the care home pharmacist as to whether it is appropriate for the resident to have the vitamin D supplement. The GP or the care home pharmacist will make an assessment taking into consideration several factors, such as reduced kidney function, swallowing difficulties and if the resident is already taking a vitamin D supplement or a calcium and vitamin D preparation.
The vitamin D supplement will be provided as a liquid. For more details on dosing, recording and administration, refer to section 3.1.
Actions for the care home:
- Compile a list residents that potentially could receive the vitamin D supplement; consideration should be given to those who are currently prescribed or taking a vitamin D supplement, or a combined calcium and vitamin D preparation (e.g., colecalciferol tablets, Adcal-D3 tablets, Evacal-D3 chewable tablets).
- Discuss this list of residents with their GP or care home pharmacist to decide which residents are eligible. Record the decision in the resident’s care plan.
- Ensure informed consent is obtained, and if no capacity follow Mental Capacity Act 2005 guidelines.
- If a decision is made to administer the vitamin D supplement, record on the MAR chart.
- If residents will be self-administering, ensure that a risk-assessment has been undertaken.
- As a reminder, always check for allergies to excipients before administration, refer to the patient information leaflet received within the packaging.