The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales has welcomed recommendations of the National Assembly for Wales’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee report into the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications in care homes. The inquiry informing the report was instigated by the committee in response to calls from the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales in its report, A Place to Call Home, and the RPS Wales policy, Improving Medicines Use for Care Home Residents.
The report calls on Welsh Government to implement a number of ‘systemic and cultural changes’ to improve the care of people living with dementia, with a particular focus on reviewing the medicines prescribed to patients living in care homes. Further recommendations highlight the need for appropriate multidisciplinary input to support care home residents, national standards for dementia-care training for care home staff, and the need to embed medicines monitoring into the care homes inspection process.
One of the Committee’s key recommendations is for the introduction of ‘mandatory three monthly medication reviews for people with dementia who have been prescribed antipsychotic medication, with a view to reducing or stopping the medication following the first review where possible’. As the experts in medicines use, RPS are confident that making full use of the expertise of the pharmacy workforce within the multi-disciplinary team will be vital to implement this recommendation. It is particularly pleasing that the report agreed with the RPS stance that ‘an enhanced role for pharmacists is needed.’
Commenting on the Committee report publication, Welsh Pharmacy Board Chair Suzanne Scott-Thomas said:
“Pharmacists have a great deal of potential to improve the lives of people who have dementia and to be the guardians of the appropriate use of antipsychotics in care home settings. It is vital that the conditions are now created for pharmacists to work with other health professionals across the health and social care system to improve antipsychotic use.
“I’m delighted that RPS Wales could contribute to this important inquiry, and that the Committee has recognised the importance of regular medicines reviews to combat inappropriate use of antipsychotics. I hope this report can harness pharmacist independent prescribing expertise and enable pharmacists to consult directly with residents of care homes, to make sure that patients are getting the right medicines for them, at the right time.”
RPS Wales Interim Director, Elen Jones, who has led on RPS’ work on medicines use within care homes, said:
“The Committee’s report marks an important step in helping to bring the recommendation of the RPS Wales Policy, Improving Medicines Use for Care Home Residents, a step closer to becoming reality. I am delighted to see that so many of our calls have been adopted by the committee, including; for care home residents to receive regular medication reviews, for medicines monitoring to be a key part of care home inspections and the need for all Wales training standards for care home staff. I strongly urge the Welsh Government to accept these recommendations that will help to ensure that people living in a care home will have access to the high quality and safe medicines and health care that they are entitled to.”
To view the full report, including the recommendations and highlighted evidence from RPS members, click here.