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Care home pharmacists trial shows potential for reduced medicines harm

Basing pharmacists in care homes makes medicines safer for residents, research by the University of Leicester has shown.

The Care Home Independent Pharmacist Prescriber Study (CHIPPS) led by the university alongside NHS Norfolk Waveney trialled onsite pharmacists in dozens of care homes across the UK.

The study found the pharmacists were regularly called on to improve the management of medicine in care homes, significantly reducing the risk of potential harm to care home residents from medicine.

Medicine use is considered to be one of the main areas of risk in care home settings by both the government and regulatory organisations.

According to the study, which has been published in the BMJ care home residents are routinely prescribed an average of eight or more medicines. A study cited in the BMJ paper, says that 70 per cent of care home residents experienced drug errors daily.

CHIPPS conducted a randomised controlled trial including 49 care homes across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The study also involved 25 care home trained pharmacist independent prescribers who were integrated into care homes to improve medicines management and safety.

Pharmacists and care home managers were positive about the experience. Although the future risk of medicines harm was significantly reduced, there was no significant reduction in falls. Some GPs also reported reduced workload.

Professor Richard Holland who co-led the project commented: “Many medicines with central nervous system effects were stopped within the trial.”


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