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 a chance that medicines given incorrectly can have serious consequences; unnecessary suffering, hospitalisation or even death. We also know that older people are more at risk of experiencing the side-effects of medicines.
As part of the National Patient Safety Improvement Programme, UCLPartners is supporting care homes to improve the safety of medicines administration. Along with the other Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), we recently conducted interviews, site visits, a survey and a Promising Practices event to capture the insights from those involved in the safe administration of medicines in care homes – including care home managers and staff, clinicians working in care homes and pharmacy leads.
This work fed into a national report national Patient Safety Collaborative programme and AHSN Network, highlighting how improvements in communication across teams, training, building leadership skills and fostering a safety culture could prevent errors in future. We will be implementing a programme to address some of these issues in 2020-21.
Administering medication safely from original packs
In this presentation video, UCLPartners Pharmacy Advisor Aiysha Saleemi, explains the rationale for switching Medication Compliance Aids to Original Packs in care homes:
We are supporting care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic with medicines safety by assisting care homes with safe administration from original packs. Find out more about how we are supporting care homes during this time here.