Mistakes in medicines are a common problem in care homes, with one study suggesting as many as 70% of residents have experienced an error at some point.
The newly-launched ‘Medicine Safety in Care Homes National Report’ concludes that care homes have not had the benefits of the improvements made in medicines safety by the NHS and that the difference between care and health sectors must be addressed.
The investigation, for the AHSN Network, was jointly led by Tony Jamieson, our Director of Transformation and Improvement, who is a pharmacist by background. It suggests that Patient Safety Collaboratives, part of the Academic Health Science Networks, are well placed to foster a safety culture because of their extensive knowledge of quality improvement methods.
Tony has welcomed the opportunity the report offers pharmacists to help lead safety improvements in care homes, and says:
“As a profession we can rise to the challenge providing the help that care homes need.”
The investigation talked to both care home staff and their residents across England to understand how the problems occurred and how they can be avoided in the future. Key issues included communication between care home, prescriber and dispensing pharmacy; care home staff training, leadership for safety; and the need to create a safety culture.
“It will be important to learn from mistakes and employ innovations and digitisation wherever possible, but we need to remember that care homes are not small hospitals, but are places where people live.
“They are places that have to be run in an organised and safe way, so we have to remember any new way of doing things has to take that into account.”