NHS: Medicines management team one-step ahead

PUBLISHED: 12:18 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 11:39 04 May 2010

WITH the report by The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) hot off the press you will be pleased to read that East Cambridgeshire and Fenland PCT s prescribing and medicines management team is already one-step ahead, having launched its Medicine

WITH the report by The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) hot off the press you will be pleased to read that East Cambridgeshire and Fenland PCT's prescribing and medicines management team is already one-step ahead, having launched its 'Medicines Course for Carers in Care Homes' in February.

The CSCI report 'Handled with Care?' was released in February 2006 and highlighted the lack of training of care home staff in medicines management as a key issue to be addressed. The report pointed out that half of its inspections identified a 'risk to service users because of the poor standard or complete absence of training programmes', leaving nearly half of care homes unable to meet the national minimum standards for medicines.

It is the responsibility of homes to ensure they comply with the standards, and the training course available from the PCT provides them with the vital resource needed to enable these standards to be met.

The NHS pharmacy practice unit at The University of East Anglia accredits the course, which aims to give carers in care homes:

# A basic knowledge of how medicines are used and how to recognise and deal with problems so that they can describe safe systems of working and identify commonly-encountered side effects and know how to deal with them

# The basic principles behind all aspects of the care homes policy on medicine handling and record keeping enabling carers to identify unsafe methods of working and find appropriate alternatives

The course itself lasts for one day. Work-based competency assessment must then be undertaken by the care home. The PCT provides a competency framework to the care home manager to support this process after delegates have successfully completed the day course.

The 'Support for Carers in Domiciliary Care' initiative is just one part of a co-ordinated programme of work to support patients and carers, in which the PCT works closely with members of other health professions, as well as its social care colleagues.

As well as the training for carers in care homes, the PCT has joined forces with other neighbouring PCTs to develop a medicines administration policy and training package for carers working with service users in their own homes, which are also being successfully rolled out across the county.

For information about these training initiatives please contact the prescribing and medicines management team on 01354 644254.

Another facet of this approach is the sterling work done by our medicines management specialist, Pippa Scrimshaw. She provides a friendly, informal visit aimed at resolving any queries patients may have about their medicines, remembering to take them, organising complicated regimens, problems opening containers and swallowing tablets.

This work supplements and dovetails neatly with the medicines use reviews which community pharmacists' carry out.

The medicines use review and the medicines management visit are not intended to replace the medication review, which the doctor performs or that performed by Jo Hudson the PCT clinical pharmacist. Rather, they aim to support patients in carrying forward the medication strategy, which they have agreed with their doctors.

The prescribing and medicines management team is also involved with several other innovative projects which are being developed in co-ordination with multi-disciplinary teams across East Cambridgeshire and Fenland PCT. Projects are under way to support patients to help them avoid medicine-related hospital admissions. These projects include clinical pharmacist support to intensive case management, falls and osteoporosis and pre-emptive care in care homes.

This is all in addition to collaborative work the team undertakes to promote cost-effective and evidence based prescribing with GPs, practice staff and patients.

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