RPS Scotland calls for improved care for the elderly

Pharmaceutical care in care homes is a specialist area and should be resourced accordingly, says the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland in a new report which sets out its vision for improving the care of residents in care homes across Scotland.

There are over 32 000 elderly care home residents in Scotland, almost two and a half times the number of NHS acute hospital beds. Despite this, care homes are not prioritised or treated as a specialist area within health and social care.

Health policy focuses on supporting people to live longer, healthier lives at home. As a result, the number of care home residents has decreased over the last ten years, but there has been a sharp increase in residents with physical disabilities (13%) and dementia (54%).

The number of residents in younger age groups has decreased but those over the age of 95 has increased by 19%, the report says. The average length of stay in a care home today is only 18 months. Residents often have several long term conditions and take on average 7.2 medicines.

The report, Putting residents at the centre of pharmacy care home services, recommends that care homes have dedicated time from pharmacists and their teams embedded in their service.

It also points out that the recent Scottish Government strategy, Achieving excellence in Pharmaceutical Care, has acknowledged the need for improving the pharmaceutical care in care homes.

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