A NEW project has been launched to improve the way that elderly people living in care homes receive their medication.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is spearheading a scheme, which will help make sure older people are taking the most effective combinations of drugs.
A team of professionals, including a psychiatry of old age consultant, a pharmacist, GP and nurses will work with care home residents and their families to review the medication they are taking and make decisions about any changes.
The trust is the first in the region to launch the scheme, and one of only 30 organisations nationally to be awarded funding by The Health Foundation as part of its Shine programme.
Wasim Baqir, research and development pharmacist at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is leading the £75,000 project and believes it will boost patient care.
He said: “Many older people take a large number of medicines, often prescribed over a number of years.
“While these medicines may have been the most appropriate at the time they were initially prescribed, without regular review they may end up taking medicines that they no longer need. This may be because their current condition means the medication isn’t doing the job it used to.
“These reviews will ensure that any medication is necessary and will highlight any alternative medication they should be taking, while giving them a real voice in their care. It also has the potential to make a real impact in terms of reducing medicine waste in the NHS.”
The project will be carried out across a dozen care homes in North Tyneside and follows a pilot that the trust carried out at Anchor’s Walldene Court Care Home in Howdon.
The care home requested that a pharmacist work with a family doctor to review the medication of every resident in the home.
Sandra Savage, Anchor’s Walldene Court Care Home manager, said: “The pilot scheme was very successful and the results were amazing.
“We saw a 30% decrease in prescriptions and I saw first-hand how our residents improved as they were no longer on medication they didn’t need. They were livelier and eating and drinking more.
“It is vital that other care homes follow suit as the benefits we saw were really immense and very good practice.”