Pharmacists promoting Dignity Action Day

By Annamarie McGregor, Professional Support Pharmacist for the RPS in Scotland

Today is Dignity Action Day.  This aims to contribute to upholding people’s rights to dignity and provide a truly memorable day for people receiving care. Dignity Action Day asks health and social care workers to take action in their place of work to promote dignity.

Over the last year, since I joined the RPS in Scotland, I’ve been working on a project to improve pharmaceutical care in Scotland.  This project has pulled together the best evidence we have about pharmaceutical care in care homes and reports on the different models of care deployed in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

One of the common themes in much of this material is the need to respect patients in care.  As we seek to provide people who are frail, with multiple health issues and nearing the end of their life, is there a tendency to lose sight of the individual as we seek to manage complex treatments?

I think an action day like Dignity Action Day is an opportunity for everyone in health and social care to look at how they could develop more patient-centered care.  More so than ever when costs are under unprecedented scrutiny.

So, on Dignity Action Day, I am proud as a pharmacist to say that as a profession we are seeking to make medicines safer and that in doing so we recognise the need to pay more attention to the individual needs of people in care homes when it comes to making sure they are taking the appropriate medicines.

We also need to help older people in care homes feel they have a voice in what medicines are best for them.

In my opinion, a good way to help make sure people in care homes get the appropriate medicines is for pharmacists to have closer contact with residents on an individual basis.  I don’t think that happens often enough just now.

We are working closely with other stakeholders in health and social care to better understand the use of medicines in care homes and how to improve their use.  We think this is the best way for pharmacists to contribute to dignity in care. What do you think?