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Assisted Living: Insulin and Injectable Medications Management

Injectable medicines, such as insulin, are often riskier to give than other medicines. Given these risks, it's important to know:

  • Who can give injections?
  • What training is needed to give injections?
  • How do you monitor someone getting an injection?
  • How are injectable medications given and stored?

Check out the FAQs (frequently asked questions) below to learn about injection rules at assisted living facilities.

Who can give injections?

An RN (registered nurse) or an LPN (licensed practical nurse) can give injections at an ADCC. An RN may assign an unlicensed ADCC staff member to give the injection (s. N 6.03 (3)).

Can an RN prepare and give insulin to residents?

Yes.

Can an LPN prepare and give insulin injections?

Yes. However, an RN or physician must provide supervision.

Can ADCC staff prepare and give insulin injections to residents?

Only if an RN assigns these tasks to a staff member. The RN must make sure the staff member is trained to give insulin injections.

Can an RN prepare insulin for ADCC staff to give to residents?

Yes. The RN must follow all rules for preparing, storing, and labeling insulin.

Can an LPN prepare insulin for ADCC staff to give to residents?

Only if an RN assigns the LPN to prepare insulin and the ADCC staff member to give the injection. However, the RN must supervise.

Can ADCC staff prepare insulin pen doses?

Yes, if the RN assigns this task to a staff member and trains them to use insulin pens.

An ADCC staff member may sometimes help residents verify the dose they have prepared on their insulin pen. However, staff members cannot prepare the dose themselves. They can only prepare the dose if an RN assigns this task to them.

Can ADCC staff perform finger-sticks and blood sugar checks with glucometers?

Yes. A Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waiver is required (Section 353 of Public Service Health Act 1988).

How much supervision is needed when an RN assigns staff members to give injections?

The amount of supervision is up to the RN and their judgment. When deciding how much supervision to provide, the RN should consider:

  • Whether the staff member is trained to give the injection.
  • The resident's condition.

When insulin is prepared, does each syringe need to be labeled?

All prepared syringes must be labeled when stored.

Can an RN assign a staff member to give insulin injections to residents with sliding-scale orders?

Yes. However, the amount of supervision a staff member needs depends on the resident's condition. For example, unstable residents may require the RN to be in the building.

Who can give residents injections?

The following staff members can give injections at an AFH:

Can an RN prepare and give insulin injections to residents?

Yes (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 88.07(3)(d), N 6.03).

Can an LPN prepare and give insulin injections to residents?

Yes. However, an RN or physician must supervise the LPN (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 88.07(3)(d), N 6.03, N 6.04).

Can AFH staff prepare or give insulin injections to residents?

Yes. RNs should train the staff member and be available to answer questions (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 88.07(2)(c) and DHS 88.07(3)(d)). Residents and their families should be made aware that AFH staff may not have the same training as an RN or LPN.

Can an RN prepare insulin for AFH staff to give to residents?

Yes. An AFH staff member also can give a resident insulin without being assigned to do so by an RN.

In an AFH, an RN can prepare only one dose at a time. Only a physician or pharmacist can prepare more than one dose at a time (Wis. Admin. Code § N 6.03). The RN must follow all rules for preparing, storing, and labeling insulin.

Can an LPN prepare insulin for AFH staff to give to residents?

An LPN can prepare insulin only if an RN has assigned an AFH staff member to give insulin injections.

Can AFH staff prepare insulin pen doses?

Yes (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 88.07(2)(c) and DHS 88.07(3)(d)).

Can AFH staff conduct finger-sticks and blood sugar checks with glucometers?

Yes. Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waivers are required (Section 353 of Public Service Health Act 1988).

How much supervision is needed when an RN assigns AFH staff to give injections?

RNs may use their own judgment when deciding how much supervision is needed.

Who can give residents injections?

Only an RN or an LPN can give injections. Some non-licensed staff members also may give injections (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 83.37(2)(e), N 6.03).

Can an RN prepare and give insulin injections to residents?

Yes (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 83.37(2)(e), N 6.03).

Can an LPN prepare and give insulin injections to residents?

An LPN can give insulin to residents if they are supervised by an RN or physician. LPNs can give insulin only to residents who are in stable medical condition (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 83.37(2)(e), N 6.04).

Can CBRF staff prepare and give insulin injections to residents?

Yes. However, an RN must assign these tasks to staff members. The RN must also make sure CBRF staff are trained to give insulin injections (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 83.37(2)(e), N 6.03).

Can an RN prepare insulin for CBRF staff to give to residents?

Yes. The RN must follow all rules for preparing, storing, and labeling insulin syringes (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 83.37(2)(e), N 6.03).

Note: Insulin prepared in the assisted living environment only can be stored for one hour.

Can an LPN prepare insulin for staff to give to residents?

Yes, under the supervision of an RN. The RN may assign an LPN to prepare insulin and a CBRF staff member to give the injection (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 83.37(2)(e), N 6.03).

Can CBRF staff prepare insulin pen doses?

Yes, if an RN assigns this task to a staff member and trains them to use insulin pens.

A CBRF staff member may sometimes help residents verify the dose they have prepared on their insulin pen. However, a staff member cannot prepare the dose themselves. An RN must assign this task to the staff member (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 83.37(2)(e), N 6.03).

Can CBRF staff perform finger-sticks and blood sugar checks with glucometers?

Yes. A Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waiver is required (Section 353 of Public Service Health Act 1988).

How much supervision is needed when an RN assigns CBRF staff to give injections?

RNs may use their own judgment when deciding how much supervision is needed. RNs should make sure LPNs and CBRF staff members are trained to prepare or give insulin.

Does each syringe need to be labeled when insulin is prepared?

All syringes must be labeled when stored.

Who can give residents injections?

The following caregivers may give injections (Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 89.23(4)(a)2):

  • An RN.
  • An LPN when assigned to do so by an RN. The LPN must be supervised by an RN or a physician.
  • RCAC staff when assigned to do so by an RN.

Can an RN prepare insulin and give it to residents?

Yes (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 89.23(4)(a)2, N 6.03).

Can an LPN prepare and give insulin injections to residents?

Yes. However, an RN must assign this task to an LPN (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 89.23(4)(a)2, N 6.03, N 6.04).

Can RCAC staff prepare and give insulin injections to residents?

Yes, if an RN assigns an RCAC staff member to prepare or give insulin to residents. The RN must make sure the RCAC staff member is trained and able to perform the task (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 89.23(4)(a)2, N 6.03).

Can an RN prepare insulin for an RCAC staff member to give to residents?

Yes. The RN must follow all standards for preparing, storing, and labeling insulin (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 89.23(4)(a)2, N 6.03).

Can an LPN prepare insulin for RCAC staff to give to residents?

Yes. However, an RN must assign these tasks. For example, an RN may ask an LPN to prepare insulin and a staff member to give the insulin (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 89.23(4)(a)2, N 6.03, N 6.04).

Can RCAC staff prepare insulin pen doses?

Yes, if the RN assigns RCAC staff to give insulin to residents. The RN also must make sure staff are trained to use insulin pens (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 89.23(4)(a)2, N 6.03).

Can RCAC staff do finger-sticks and blood sugar checks with glucometers?

Yes. Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waivers are required (Section 353 of Public Service Health Act 1988).

How much supervision is needed when an RN assigns RCAC staff to prepare or give injections?

The RN must use their own judgment to decide how much supervision is needed (Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 89.23(4)(a)2, N 6.03).

Can an RN assign RCAC staff to give insulin injections to residents with sliding-scale orders?

Yes. However, the RN needs to provide supervision based on the resident's condition. For example, an RN may need to be in the facility if the resident is in unstable condition.

Regulations

Resources

Injection safety from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Blood glucose and insulin

Diabetes

Last revised January 13, 2023