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RPS in Scotland calls on Scottish Government to fund pharmaceutical care in care homes

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland has today welcomed NHS England’s recognition of the vital role pharmacists can play in care homes. 

Alex MacKinnon, Director of RPS in Scotland said: “Recruiting 200 new pharmacists and pharmacy technicians into care homes in England will have a positive impact on the quality of life of their older more vulnerable citizens.”

RPS recently published a new report setting out a vision for improving the care of residents in care homes across Scotland.  The report, Putting residents at the centre of pharmacy care home services, recommends that care homes have dedicated time from pharmacists and their teams embedded in their service. It highlights the need for regular medication reviews to reduce inappropriate polypharmacy and improve quality of life for residents. It illustrates how input from the pharmacy team results in improved palliative care, fewer falls, fewer unplanned admissions to hospital, improved appetite and more socially active residents.

Mr MacKinnon continued: “Health policy in Scotland 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.

“We would urge the Scottish Government to ensure that care home residents have the highest standards of pharmaceutical care, led by pharmacists working with a multi-disciplinary team.  Community pharmacists are well placed to support care homes and their residents and we would recommend that Scottish Government enables and encourages more collaboration in this area.

“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.”

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