Our policy and campaigns
The RPS believes it is time to change the way medicines are used in care homes. Our report, The Right Medicine: Improving Care in Care Homes (February 2016), provides the following recommendations:
- Pharmacists should have overall responsibility for medicines and their use in care homes
- One pharmacist and one general practitioner should be responsible for medicines in each care home ensuring coordinated and consistently high standards of care
- Where a care home specialises e.g. in dementia care, the pharmacist should ensure they are competent to support the relevant clinical speciality
- Local commissioners (such as Clinical Commissioning Groups or NHS England) should commission pharmacists to provide medicine reviews within care homes
- Pharmacists should lead a programme of regular medicine reviews and staff training, working in an integrated team with other healthcare practitioners ensuring medicines safety.
View our policy briefing and further resources »
NHS England Five Year Forward View
The NHS Five Year Forward View was published on 23 October 2014 and sets out a new shared vision for the future of the NHS based around the new models of care. In January 2015, the NHS invited individual organisations and partnerships to apply to become ‘vanguard’ sites for the new care models programme. NHS England has stated “Each vanguard site will take a lead on the development of new care models which will act as the blueprints for the NHS moving forward and the inspiration to the rest of the health and care system”.
Information on the six enhanced health in care home vanguards which will offer older people better, joined up health, care and rehabilitation services can be viewed on the NHS England website.
Providers have produced factsheets to help understanding of the vanguards. Information on care homes can be found on page 3 of the factsheets.
Community pharmacy reforms
In an open letter from the Department of Health discussing community pharmacy reforms, changes the Government would like to see include better integration pharmacy into the wider primary care and community health system – such as closer working with GP surgeries, care homes and urgent and emergency care departments.
The care home use of medicines study
The Care Homes Use of Medicines Study (CHUMS) (2009) was designed firstly to establish the prevalence, types and underlying causes of medication errors in residential and nursing homes, and assess the ensuing harm. Secondly, the findings were looked at to develop solutions to reduce the prevalence of error. The study suggests that in order to prevent errors, pharmacists should regularly review with residents their medicines and rationalise medication regimens to help care home staff minimise the risk of errors. One of the conclusions of the report is that ‘pharmacists should clinically review all residents and their medications for appropriateness at least 6 monthly intervals.’
Health Foundation's SHINE project: Improving medicine prescribing in care homes
The SHINE project developed a medication review process that allows patients in care homes and their family or carers, to be fully involved in decisions about their medicines, focussing on person-centred care.
This video, produced by The Health Foundation, explains how the care of elderly care home residents can be enhanced through medication reviews.