The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has published a study setting out a vision for improving the support given to people in care homes across Scotland.
At present there are more than 32,000 older care home residents each night across the country, almost two-and-a-half times the number of NHS acute hospital beds available.
The report ‘Putting residents at the centre of pharmacy care home services’, recommends that care homes receive time from pharmacists and their teams embedded in their service. It highlights the need for regular medication reviews to reduce inappropriate polypharmacy, the number of medicines being taken per person, and improve quality of life for residents.
It illustrates how input from the pharmacy team results in improved palliative care, fewer falls, less unplanned admissions to hospital, improved appetite and more socially active residents.
Aileen Bryson, Deputy Director at RPS in Scotland, said: “Health policy rightly focuses on supporting people to live longer, healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting. 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 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.”
She added: “Funding must be made available to provide residents with the highest standards of pharmaceutical care, led by pharmacists working with a multi-disciplinary team. A good quality of life in later life is just as important for residents of care homes as for those who continue to live in their own homes.”
Irene Oldfather, Director of Strategy and Engagement at Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The Alliance) said they stand by the RPS call to put residents at the centre of pharmacy care home services.
She said: “The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s new report makes a number of interesting and incredibly necessary recommendations.
“Regular medication reviews, taking into account the views of residents, their families and their carers will give people a far greater say in their care. And establishing one pharmacist as a first point of contact for all medication queries will also allow people to develop a relationship with those who deliver their care.”