Use pharmacists' expertise to improve outcomes for care home residents

Pharmacists' expertise must be utilised to improve the care for care home residents, says Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the Welsh Pharmacy Board.

Medicines use in care homes has come under the spotlight recently with a number of reports and reviews highlighting issues across Great Britain.

Recent evaluations of medicines administration in care homes by Cardiff University revealed distinct medication error types and highlight the need for greater input into pharmaceutical care for care home residents. The older people’s commissioner for Wales, the independent voice and champion for older people, has also voiced concerns in her report, ‘A Place to Call Home?’.

Our policy, ‘Improving Medicines Use for Care Home Residents’, takes into account all the concerns raised and is cognisant of the principles driving health and social care in Wales. Commenting on our policy, Sarah Rochira, the older people’s commissioner, said she was delighted that the RPS had responded so positively to her review.

“Pharmacists are key to ensuring that older people are not only safe in care homes, but also are able to have the very best possible quality of life. They should be seen as an integral part of the care and support team.”

The Welsh Pharmacy Board is calling for the next Welsh Government to commit to the collective action that will implement the necessary changes to allow the pharmacy team, together with health and social care colleagues, to use their expertise for improving care for care home residents in Wales.

Starting point

We consider this policy to be just a starting point. It demonstrates the commitment of RPS Wales to improving the lives of care home residents. It is a platform for further action. So what do the next steps look like? Our task now is to:

  • Develop professional standards for the use of medicines in care homes
  • Promote those standards to LHBs and the Welsh Government and call for their implementation
  • Generate education and training opportunities for care home staff and health and social care professionals.

Improving the quality of care for care home residents is an issue we cannot and must not ignore. The increasing ageing population and the growing complexity of co-morbidities and medication regimens among this demographic, demands greater intervention by the pharmacy team. Care home residents should expect the highest quality of care and support from pharmacists and the wider health and social care team.

Our policy takes into account all the concerns raised

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