Older people in care homes are among the most vulnerable members of our society, reliant on care home staff for many of their everyday needs. A combination of complex medical conditions may lead to the need to take multiple medications, with care home residents taking 7‐8 medications on average.
This ‘polypharmacy’ in turn increases the risk of medication error. Medication errors may occur as a result of a failure in prescribing, dispensing, administering, or monitoring medication.
A medication review is a structured, critical examination of a patient’s medicines with the objective of reaching an agreement with the patient about treatment, optimising the impact of medicines, minimising the number of medication-related problems, and reducing waste.
A recent study recommended that care homes should commission an ‘independent review of their medication processes by an outside person, possibly a pharmacist, who could provide an overview of the effective running of the whole medicines system in the home, and of links with the associated GPs, supplying pharmacists and the PCT’.
In response to these findings, NHS Leeds West CCG has commissioned a pharmacy care home medication review service. The service delivers comprehensive pharmaceutical care to patients in care homes. Specialist pharmacists working with GPs will monitor and adjust medicines so that long term conditions can be managed safely and effectively and medicine-related admissions to hospital are reduced.
The aim of this engagement is to gather feedback from patients, families, and care home staff on medication reviews in care homes in order to develop a business case to extend the work of the project.