Improving the safety of giving medicines to people living in care homes
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 medicines. Often medicines are given by carers or nurses within the care home.
The vast majority of medicines are given as intended, but we know from academic research that on occasion, some are not. Impact of these incidents often result in no harm and there is a potential that medicines given incorrectly can have serious consequences; including effects of unnecessary suffering, hospitalisation or even death.
What are we aiming to do?
In Wessex, the Patient Safety (PS) team are one of the 15 PS teams who have been funded to work with care homes on the safety of giving medicines. To do this, we have started to connect with people who work in and with Wessex care homes to develop a picture of medicine administration experiences of care home staff and residents. This picture will then help the Wessex PS team identify and support willing and able care home teams to develop their practices through quality improvement techniques.
This work forms part of the National Medicines Safety Improvement Programme which has been started in response to the NationalPatient Safety Strategy launched in September 2019.
How will the work we will do help?
This work will support care home teams to be proactive in keeping people safe and well. This includes benefits to the residents, the care staff, the home and also the wider health and social care system.
What do we need to help us with this work?
Between October 2019 and March 2020, we will be talking to as many care home teams and supportive services to gather as much information as we can so we can build on the successes and support the teams wanting to develop their medicine administration practices.
If you are interested in learning more about the programme and the work we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Coordinator by the link below.
UPDATE: 1st April 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this programme is currently suspended.
If you have any questions or queries relating to medicines safety in care homes, please contact our Medicines Optimisation team via their page here.