RPS in Scotland calls for a pharmacist in every care home to ensure safe and appropriate use of medicines.
Research has demonstrated that working as part of the multidisciplinary team, pharmacist-led medicine reviews in care homes leads to better health outcomes and an improved quality of life.
RPS in Scotland’s report “Improving pharmaceutical care in care homes” set out a radical change in the pharmacists’ role in care homes with specific recommendations on how to improve the quality of pharmaceutical care for residents. While many of the recommendations have been taken forward there is a long way to go to reach the gold standard we expect for the rest of the population.
RPS in Scotland’s Head of Practice & Policy, Aileen Bryson, said: “The number of people over 75 years of age will increase by 60% in the next decade with increasingly complex care requirements. We need to act now to prepare for the future, reverse the negativity associated with care in care homes, and ensure the best possible care and quality of life for our frail older population in care homes.”
The Scottish Government action plan “Prescription for Excellence” has the potential to make substantial changes to current ways of working, which will bring improvements to pharmaceutical care in care homes.
We know that people are most vulnerable when they move between different parts of the NHS and there are some key areas where patient safety and care must be improved. We still need a national quality outcomes approach to best practice and efficient working practices in the prescribing, supply and administration of medicines and more effective partnership working between all service providers.
Outstanding recommendations from the report include:
- A dedicated role for pharmacists working in every care home providing pharmaceutical care such as medication reviews to improve pain management, falls and fracture prevention and end of life care.
- One community pharmacy and one GP practice aligned to each care home with service level agreements which ensure continuity of care and cultivate the quality therapeutic partnerships required to improve both care and effective team work.
- Better sharing of information between all health and social care professionals involved in patient care including hospital discharge information, allergies and test results.
- A move away from use of monitored dosage systems and towards original pack dispensing to free up pharmacist and pharmacy technician time to spend time on improving care.
Aileen Bryson continued: “Some medicines can affect mental alertness, appetite, swallowing ability and ability to self-care so reviewing and reducing inappropriate medicines can improve residents ‘quality of life. Staff also spend less time administering medicines and have more time to provide personal care. We welcome the progress so far within the Scottish Government Dementia Strategy and the prioritisation of care homes residents in the implementation of the national polypharmacy guidelines but more still needs to be done to achieve a high and consistent quality of care. “