Transfer of Care Around Medicines – ensuring support with medicines for patients leaving hospital
When some patients leave hospital, they can need extra support taking their prescribed medicines.
This may be because their medicines have changed or they just need a bit of help to make sure they are taking their medicines safely and effectively. Around 60% of patients have three or more changes made to their medicines during a hospital stay. Only 10% of elderly patients will be discharged on the same medication they were on previously.
Patients tell us they don't always remember everything they are told in hospital, so it can be very helpful to have someone go through it again, discussing side effects and checking they understand.
The transfer of care process is associated with an increased risk of adverse effects. 30 -70% of patients experience unintentional changes to their treatment or an error is made because of a miscommunication.
This is what the Transfers of Care Around Medicine (TCAM) project aims to address.
When patients in hospital are identified as needing extra support with their medicines, they are referred through a safe and secure digital platform when they're discharged for advice from their local community pharmacist.
Original work in the North East has shown that patients who see their community pharmacist after they've been in hospital are less likely to be readmitted and, if they are, will experience a shorter stay.
Many AHSNs, including Wessex and the West of England, have worked with trusts and Local Pharmaceutical Committees to help set up a secure electronic interface between the hospital IT systems and PharmOutcomes, the community pharmacy system used in their area. This has further enhanced TCAM by providing patient data quickly and seamlessly to their community pharmacist.
Wessex AHSN has developed an awareness campaign to encourage people to seek help with their medicines, featuring a genderless, ageless character called Mo and comprising a series of animated films with accompanying poster resources for pharmacies. The films have been viewed almost 64,0000 times. The twitter hashtag #MedicinesMo has received 832,000 impressions, with the campaigns shared by NHS England and the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer.
Through the national implementation of TCAM across the 15 AHSNs in 2018-2020, each AHSN will support their local trusts to establish a TCAM pathway. This will enable all suitable patients to be referred to their community pharmacy or GP pharmacist where appropriate.
Locally, University Trust Southampton Hospital, St Marys IOW and Dorset County Hospital all have transfer of care around medicines pathway. Winchester and Basingstoke Hospitals will be going live early in 2019 and other trusts in Wessex are looking at how they would establish their service.
A range of resources aimed at supporting Trusts, Local Community Pharmacies and CCGs to set up this service are available under the "resources" heading on this page.
Me and My Medicines is a campaign to support and encourage people to ask about their medicines issues and concerns. It uses an approach to medicines that encourages people to take some responsibility for their medicines and encourages all health professionals to help people use their medicines well.