THE Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in Scotland has said it is disappointed with “the speed of progress in embedding dedicated funded roles for pharmacists in care homes and developing models of care that fully harness the skills and expertise of pharmacists”.
Its 2012 report, Improving Pharmaceutical Care in Care Homes, highlighted research demonstrating that working as part of the multidisciplinary team, pharmacist-led medicine reviews led to better health outcomes and an improved quality of life.
However there were still some outstanding recommendations from the report, although it had been broadly welcomed by the Scottish Government at the time, said the RPS. These included:
- A dedicated role for pharmacists in every care home to provide pharmaceutical care (medication reviews to improve pain management, skin health, falls and fracture prevention, palliative and end of life care).
- Alignment of one community pharmacy and one GP practice to each care home with service level agreements to ensure continuity of care and to cultivate the quality therapeutic partnerships required to improve both care and effective team work.
- Improved safety through better sharing of information between all health and social care professionals involved in patient care, including hospital discharge information and clinical information, such as, diagnosis, monitoring, test results, adverse drug reaction and allergies.
The statement from the RPS in Scotland comes after the NHS England announcement, earlier this week, that the Pharmacy Integration Fund would be used to fund 180 pharmacists and 60 pharmacy technician posts to help improve medicines optimisation in care homes in addition to a commitment of 500 extra GP practice-based pharmacists this year.
Aileen Bryson, Head of Practice & Policy at RPS in Scotland, said: “Some medicines can affect mental alertness, appetite, swallowing, 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.
“People living in care homes are, in general, now frailer, nearer the end of their lives, and with more complex needs than in the past. The posts announced for England are indeed welcome news for care home residents south of the border. We would strongly urge the Scottish Government to follow suit to ensure care home residents in Scotland have access to the expertise of a pharmacist and the same level of pharmaceutical care as we provide to the wider community across primary and secondary care.”
The RPS in Scotland is currently working on a re-fresh of the 2012 report – it is due for publication this summer.