Care homes: pharmacists and technicians working together

By Wasim Baqir, Medicines optimisation lead for care homes, NHS England

At NHS England I’m responsible for making sure the recently announced new roles in care homes – 180 for pharmacists and 60 for pharmacy technicians – get up and running and the necessary training is in place. But why work in a care home in the first place?

I’ve spent many years working in care homes in Northumbria. Pharmacists and technicians working together in care homes is a fantastic opportunity to drive up standards of safe, high quality care.  In addition, the job satisfaction is enormous.  You get a personal sense of achievement when you stop medicines which are unnecessary and harmful, when you stop waste that’s costly to the system, and work together across boundaries with your community, hospital and general practice colleagues to offer more to residents. Read more Care homes: pharmacists and technicians working together

What are the benefits of having a pharmacist in a care home?

By Sandra Gidley, Chair of RPS England

I’m delighted that NHS England, through the Pharmacy Integration Fund, have invested in creating 180 new jobs for pharmacists and 60 for technicians in care homes across the country.  There are huge benefits for residents in having a pharmacist involved in reviewing their medicines.

The average age of residents in care homes for the elderly is now 85 and they are prescribed an average of 7 or 8 medicines a day, though there are many are on more than that.  Those medicines can bring side-effects which in turn lead to loss of quality of life, so by rationalising those medicines, very often reducing the number taken, people feel better and the NHS saves money too.

Team work

Integration is a new buzzword which is the direction of travel for NHS delivery of health services. Pharmacists and technicians are a key part of the multidisciplinary team of GPs, nurses, geriatricians, and care home staff that look after residents. We need to all work together to provide residents with specialist clinical medication reviews to keep them from harm and keep them out of hospital. Here’s a great example of a care home pharmacist who is part of these reviews in the E & N Hertfordshire vanguard programme.

Residents’ relatives are also vital to such reviews and a very positive consequence is that their relationships with their loved ones often improve as a result of medication changes as the resident feels better and can be more communicative. The overall results in E&N Herts are astounding.  Since December 2015, their care home pharmacy team reviewed 1,426 residents and 13,786 medicines, stopped 2,238 unnecessary medicines including 681 with a falls risk, saved £354,498 in drug costs and an estimated £650,000 in hospital admission costs. They’ve also made a video about the way the vanguard programme was set up and the impact it had.

Challenging ourselves

By investing in pharmacists, commissioners are investing in their older, vulnerable populations and in better outcomes for patients.  By challenging ourselves to work in different ways and across traditional boundaries, we can grow as professionals, be part of a new way of working that enables us to demonstrate the benefits pharmacy can bring and deliver a better standard of care than ever before. It’s not always easy to do this, but it’s essential. Provision of services by pharmacists across settings is the game changer that NHS organisations are working towards.

Our Regional Liaison Pharmacists

RPS England has just appointed four Regional Liaison Pharmacists, who will be approaching local Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships amongst others to ensure they understand the contribution that pharmacists can make to the health needs of their local populations and so provide services that fit local needs. They will also discuss new integrated ways of working and ensure that pharmacists are part of this, including these new opportunities in care homes.

New jobs

I’ve received many requests for information about the new roles in care homes and these are still being worked on by NHS England.  I suggest keeping an eye on www.jobs.nhs.uk and of course the RPS will keep you up to date on developments.

 

Working at system level on care homes

by Wasim Baqir, National pharmacy lead on care homes, NHS England

NHS England has announced 180 new jobs for pharmacists and 60 for pharmacy technicians as part of the drive to improve patient care and the use of medicines in care homes.  At a system level, here’s how it will work – and I promise, it’s not as hard as it sounds!

STPs/ICS

The NHS and local councils came together in 2016 to form 44 Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) with a vision to improve health and care for local people across whole areas rather than individual organisations. Following on from the Vanguard programme, the NHS announced 10 Integrated Care Systems (ICS) that have been given greater operational and financial autonomy to manage their services. Read more Working at system level on care homes

Influencing policy and advocating for pharmacy in Wales

Elen Jones, Practice and Policy Lead, RPS Wales
Elen Jones, Practice and Policy Lead, RPS Wales

by Elen Jones, Practice and Policy Lead at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales.

We’ve had a busy year working with colleagues in NHS Wales and Welsh Government to put pharmacy at the heart of future healthcare planning in Wales, as well as working on policies to improve patient outcomes.

 

Read more Influencing policy and advocating for pharmacy in Wales

People with dementia in care homes need pharmacist-led medicine reviews

Laurance Thraves Alzheimers Societyby Laurence Thraves, Senior Policy Officer, Alzheimer’s Society

70 per cent of people with dementia have one or more other long-term health condition. As GPs and other medical professional try to treat these conditions, people with dementia can end up on a cocktail of drugs that exacerbate their symptoms. Using their specialist skills, pharmacists can play a vital role in improving how medicines are used in care homes and, as a result, the quality of life for the 280,000 people with dementia living there. Read more People with dementia in care homes need pharmacist-led medicine reviews

Defining the role for pharmacy within person-centred care for vulnerable groups

Claire Anderson copy[1]By Claire Anderson, Vice Chair of the English Pharmacy Board for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

The health and strength of a society can be measured by how well it cares for its most vulnerable members, older people, those with mental health conditions, those with learning disabilities and children and young people. There remain large inequalities in the care, including pharmaceutical care, of these groups.

The NHS Five Year Forward View calls for greater integration of health and social care services and for care to be delivered closer to people’s homes. Pharmacists, working in the heart of the community, are ideally placed to work with other members of the multidisciplinary team to care for vulnerable people at home and in care homes.

Read more Defining the role for pharmacy within person-centred care for vulnerable groups

2014 – a busy year for pharmacy in Wales

Jocelyn-Parkes

by Jocelyn Parkes, Director, Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales

Hello, I would like to introduce myself as the new Director of the RPS in Wales. Some of you will know me already as I have been working as Principal Policy Advisor at the RPS for the last ten years. For the past few weeks, whilst the rain has whipped itself against the windows of the RPS Wales office, the Welsh Pharmacy Board and RPS Wales’s staff have been busy planning the work programme for the coming year and how, through our work, we can best support you as members.

In this first blog post of the year, I would like to share with you our plans for 2014. As for future blogs, I would be interested to hear your views. What topics and authors you would like to be covered in future blogs? Please email our Communications Officer, Kirsty.luff@rpharms.com  with any ideas, or record your views publicly below.

Read more 2014 – a busy year for pharmacy in Wales

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. Read more Pharmacists promoting Dignity Action Day