RPS calls for integral care home role for pharmacists
A report published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called for pharmacists to play an integral role in care homes in Scotland and be included in the strategic planning of health and social care partnerships (HSCPs).
The report identifies opportunities for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to improve standards in care homes, including carrying out regular medication reviews to ensure medication errors are reduced.
“Services need to be more responsive to changes in residents’ health needs and be able to prioritise, assess and follow up more effectively,” the report said.
“This can only be achieved using all the skill mix available and different models of care will emerge. Remote and rural locations have different challenges from urban settings.
“Care homes vary in size and type which can impact on the level of service required. There is scope to use pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants from community, primary care and secondary care, working together to provide the essential elements of pharmaceutical care and medicines management that together will minimise unintended harm and medication errors.”
The report said including pharmacists in the strategic planning of Scotland’s 32 HSCPs, bodies at the heart of integrated services provided by health boards and councils, “will ensure safe and efficient pharmaceutical care services are provided locally with dedicated pharmacy resource to care homes.”
The RPS said it wanted to see all care home pharmacists become independent prescribers and pharmacy teams overseeing residents’ care given read-write access to their health records.
“Health policy rightly focuses on supporting people to live longer, healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting,” said Aileen Bryson, the deputy director of the RPS in Scotland.
“As a result, the number of care home residents has decreased over the last 10 years, but there has been a sharp increase in residents with physical disabilities and dementia.
“Anyone now entering a care home is generally frailer and nearer the end of their life than might have been the case previously. Residents often have several long-term conditions and take on average 7.2 medicines.”
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