RPS Wales launch care home policy

RPS Wales today launched its care home policy, Improving Medicines Use for Care Home Residents. Drawing on advice from experts within the pharmacy profession as well as other health and social care professionals and patient representative groups, five key themes have been identified as areas for immediate support from the pharmacy team:

  1. Polypharmacy
  2. Antipsychotic prescribing
  3. Safe transfer of information
  4. Education, training and standards
  5. Palliative care

Several recommendations under each of these five key themes are set out in the policy, that if implemented, will improve the care, safety and quality of medicines use for residents living in care homes;

The events saw speeches from a number of key speakers including:

  • Sarah Rochira, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales
  • Grant Duncan, Deputy Director for Primary Care, The Welsh Government
  • Tim Banner, Consultant Pharmacist/Chair of the RPS Wales Care Home Advisory Committee,
  • Dr Victor Aziz, Chair Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Dr Jane Fenton-May, Vice Chair Royal College of General Practitioners Wales

Commenting on the policy, Welsh Pharmacy Board Chair, Suzanne Scott Thomas, stated: “This new policy demonstrates the commitment of the pharmacy team to working in partnership with our health and social care colleagues for the benefit of all patients. Whether living in their own home or in a care home, older people must receive our continuing support and expertise. Care home residents often take a combination of medicines for a number of different conditions. A pharmacist who is responsible for the use of medicines in care homes as part of the healthcare team could review these complex medicines, identify any that are no longer needed, and make sure that residents are getting the best out of their medicines.”

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira, said: “My Care Home review laid down a challenge to many bodies across Wales: stop failing older people. I am delighted that the RPS has responded so positively to my Review and is today calling on the next Welsh Government to ensure that the good practice we have in Wales becomes standard practice. Pharmacists are key to ensuring that older people are not only safe in care homes, but also are able to have the very best possible quality of life. They should be seen as an integral part of the care and support team”   

Dr Rebecca Payne, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Wales added:“Patient safety must be improved through greater collaboration and coordination across the multidisciplinary team in addressing polypharmacy issues. Utilising the combined expertise of GPs and pharmacists in the management of polypharmacy in care homes will ensure that the right medicines are used for the right diagnosis, increasing quality of care and safety for residents”.