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Self-administration of Medicines (SAM) in the Rosie Hospital Maternity Wards

Patient information A-Z

What is self-administration?

Self-administration of medicines (known as SAM) is a programme used on the ward to help you to maintain your independence with your medicine taking and allow you to take your usual medicines at the times you usually would at home. It will also help you to take prescribed pain relief and other drugs regularly, even if you are away from the ward or are asleep at the times of the drug rounds.

If you self-administer in hospital it gives you the opportunity to take your own medicines either independently or, if needed, under supervision. In order to do this your midwife/nurse will give you as much information, help and supervision as you need. We will ask you how you are getting on and check that you remain fit and well enough each day, to self-administer your medicines.

What are the benefits of self-administration?

Through this programme we aim to help you to:

  • Maintain your independence with your medicine taking, particularly with pain relief after childbirth.
  • Understand the purpose of your medicines.
  • Understand how to take your medicines safely.
  • Understand more about your condition and general health.
Who can I talk to about self-administration?

Before you take part in this programme you will have the chance to discuss with your midwife/nurse exactly what self-administration involves and what the possible benefits will be for you.

Can I choose not to self-administer?

SAM is not compulsory, and you must not feel that you have to take part even if asked.

What should I expect to happen?

If you agree to take part, then before starting, a midwife/nurse will:

  • Explain self-administration to you
  • Explain which medicines you will be taking
  • Explain the dosage
  • Discuss possible side effects from the medicines that you will be taking.

Your own medicines from home will be used where suitable. Any other regular or new medicines that you require will be given to you from the hospital. Each container will have on it a label which will state your name, the name of the medicine and instructions on how to take it.

If you forget what medicines, you have taken or if you have any queries then please talk to your midwife/nurse.

What are my responsibilities whilst self-administering?
  • Keep your medicines locked in the appropriate cabinet and keep the key safe. Please do not take medicines off the ward.
  • Check the printed copy of the SAM MAR (Self-Administered Medicines, Medicine Administration Record) chart which lists the medicines you have agreed to self-administer for details of the drug, dose to be taken and how frequently. Check the SAM MAR for changes before taking each dose of medicine.
  • Initial or sign below the relevant drug administration time stated on the SAM MAR after taking each dose. If you take at a different time indicate this by recording the exact time you took the medicine. Do not vary significantly from the time you are supposed to take the medicine, if unsure speak with the midwife looking after you.
  • Inform your midwife/nurse/doctor if anything is unclear, or if you suspect anything is incorrect.
  • Only take the medicines we have prescribed for you.
  • Ask your midwife/nurse for any ‘as required’ medicines (e.g. extra pain relief if needed), injections, or other medicine to which you do not have access.
  • Inform your midwife/nurse or doctor if you need increasing amounts of ‘as required’ medicines.
  • Alert your midwife/nurse if your supply of medicines becomes low.
  • Return the key to your medicine locker to your midwife before you go home.

How will my medicines be kept safe?

Your medicines will be locked in your bedside locker. You will be given a key to the locker when you are taking your medication independently (the midwife/nurse will be the only other people with access to your medication).

It is your responsibility to keep your medicines locked in your bedside locker, to not take them off the ward and to keep the key in a safe place.

What happens when I go home?

A discharge prescription will be written and the medicines in your locker will be checked against it by the midwife/nurse. The ward will then contact inpatient pharmacy to ask them to check the prescription on Epic and make a supply if needed.

Please remember to give the key to your bedside locker to your midwife/nurse before going home.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151