How Should Medicines Be Stored in a Care Home?

Almost all care homes across the UK will need to store vaccines and medicines on their premises to administer to their residents. In order to store these medications safely and securely, a medical fridge is required. 

Why do Care Homes need Medical Fridge’s?

Due to a medical fridge’s ability to create optimal storage conditions for vaccines and medications that are enforced and favoured over standard commercial fridges. . 

These optimal storage conditions are otherwise known as the cold-chain. The cold-chain specifies the specific temperature range medicines and vaccines should be kept in to prevent them from becoming spoiled and unusable. This temperature ranges from +2oC and +8oC. 

This temperature range must be monitored throughout the supply chain, from the point of manufacture through to administration. To achieve this, specialist equipment is used during transportation to the care home, and once delivered they must be transferred into a medical grade refrigerator.

Medical fridges come with additional features such as state-of-the-art thermometers that can measure the temperature of the vaccines, as well as the inside of the fridge. This helps when monitoring the medical fridge and its contents, to ensure the temperature range never falls out of the cold-chain. 

Most medical refrigerators also come fitted with alarms that will sound if this fluctuation in temperature occurs. This will help in alerting staff who can then take immediate action to protect the medicines inside.

Regarding security, medical fridges provide added protection with locks installed onto their doors. This will help to prevent access to any unauthorised members of staff, residents or visitors.

How to Choose the Right Medical Fridge for your Care Home 

Medical fridges come in a range of sizes in order to meet the different needs of different healthcare and medical practitioners.

The standard sizes for medical fridges are small, medium and large.


Small medical fridges are ideal for care homes where space is not a luxury. They can easily be installed under desks or even on counter tops for quick and easy access. As well, because of their size, they do not usually need an engineer to fit and install it. 


Medium medical fridges are approximately the size of a domestic dishwasher and can also be installed under desks and counters should the space allow it. These medical fridges are great if you are not graced with space, but do need a reasonably high volume of medicine for your patients.


Finally, large medical fridges are free standing  and are roughly the same size as a domestic fridge/freezer unit. Although they require a good amount of space to be installed and used, they are extremely beneficial if your care home is at full resident capacity, and you need to stock a high volume of medications and vaccines.

Glass or Solid Door

Additionally, there is also the choice of whether you would like your medical fridge to have a solid or glass door

Where a glass door will allow you to see the contents of the medical fridge without having to open the door and compromise the internal temperature, a solid door medical fridge will provide you with an added layer of security. 

To determine which medical fridge is the best for your needs, consider the following:

• The quantity of medicines and vaccines you need to store.
• How much space you have to install your medical fridge.
• Whether you want to be able to see inside your medical fridge without opening the door.
• Whether you require additional security.

How Should Medicines be Stored in a Care Home Medical Fridge?

Once you have chosen the right medical fridge for your care home needs, it is important to understand how to correctly store medicines and vaccines inside the unit.

As a general rule, a medical fridge should never be more than 75% full and there should be around 1cm of space in between each medicine/vaccine.

It is also important to ensure that no vaccines are touching the back wall of the fridge as this can lead to freezing which in turn can spoil the vaccines/medicine.

As well, you must keep an up to date record of the medicines and vaccines you have stored in your fridge, and regularly monitor and record temperatures.

If you would like some more information on how to stock your medical fridge properly, read our quick guide here

Contact Us

If you would like more information about care home medical fridges and advice on how to correctly store vaccines and medicines, you can contact a member of the CoolMed team here.