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National Medicines Safety Improvement Programme

As part of the National Patient Safety Improvement Programme, UCLPartners will be supporting care homes to improve the safety of medicines administration.

Background

Medicines are a vital part of keeping people well and improving our quality of life. Residents of care homes often have complex needs, which in turn means many residents are prescribed multiple medications. Often residents rely heavily on their carers or nurses to access the medicines they need.

The vast majority of medicines are given as intended, but we know from academic research that on occasion, some are not. Mostly these incidents result in no harm, but there is potential that medicines given incorrectly can have serious consequences; unnecessary suffering, hospitalisation or even death. We also know that older people are more susceptible to the side-effects of medicines.

Our work

As part of the National Patient Safety Improvement Programme, UCLPartners will be supporting care homes to improve the safety of medicines administration. This is in response to the National Patient Safety Strategy which was launched in September 2019. This is an important programme to try and reduce the harm suffered by people living in care homes on the occasions where medicines are not given as intended.

This will be a 2-3 year programme of work. From November 2019-March 2020 we, along with the other AHSNs, are conducting some scoping work to answer the questions detailed below. Please get in touch with us to find out more about this work or if you’d like to contribute to this initial scoping phase. To supplement this, a survey has also been produced that we would like to reach as many care homes as possible across the region.

The survey is open until 31 January 2020. This is in advance of an NHS England and NHS Improvement funded national improvement programme beginning from April 2020.

 Questions we are asking at this stage

1. What is the nature and scale of medication administration errors within care homes across the UCLPartners region?

2. What types of interventions are currently being used to reduce administration errors, and what kind of impact are these having?

3. What level of support do care home staff currently access to reduce harm, and what further support might they need?

4. Are there some care homes that would be willing to participate in an improvement programme from April 2020?

Further information

If you would like to know more about this work, please email Emma Mordaunt, Improvement Project Manager, at emma.mordaunt@uclplartners.com.