Care home residents across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw are being given specialist help to make sure they have the best possible quality of life by ensuring that the medicines they take are working for them as well as they should be.

A new team, set up by the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, made up of 3 Pharmacists and 5 Pharmacy Technicians, now makes regular visits to care homes to talk to residents about their medicines and where necessary makes changes to help them get the maximum benefit and minimise any unwanted side effects. The team also works with care home staff, giving them training and support to make sure medicines are given at the right time, in the right dose and for the right reasons.

Richard Daniszewski is a Pharmacist and is part of the team, he says:

“If someone is taking something they don’t need they could potentially injure themselves, run the risk of being admitted to hospital, or it could simply hinder them when doing everyday tasks. We can look at stopping that medication either immediately or by gradually reducing it, and we would do that by making a recommendation to the resident’s GP. 

“There are a lot of issues that can be resolved through a medication review. We ensure the medications taken are appropriate for the conditions the resident has, we check the doses are accurate and whether the medication is still needed.

“As well as looking at their medication, we are looking at any other issues that they may have, such as with diet or their lifestyle, and can work with the care home to look at resolving these to improve the resident’s overall quality of life.”

David Monaghan is the Manager of the Chapel Lodge care home in Sheffield, he said:

“The team has been a great help to us and our residents. To put it into practical terms, some of our residents were being prescribed up to four different creams, some of which were doing the same thing and through medicine reviews we’ve identified the ones they don’t need. Now those residents don’t need to apply multiple creams every day.

“By observing our medicines processes the team has helped to make them quicker and safer, which has also helped us meet compliance with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).”

NHS England has released funding to each Sustainability and Transformation Partnership/ Integrated Care System (ICS) to enable them to recruit pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and put teams in place.

This approach to medication has been shown to be of immense benefit to care home residents, many of whom take multiple medicines to manage their conditions. The approach also benefits the wider health and care system, for example by reducing medicines waste and avoiding medicines related hospital admissions.