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Safety of medicines in care homes - final report

31 May 2013


Safety of medicines in the care home is an ambitious cross-sector partnership project, funded by the Department of Health, aiming to improve the medicines pathway for residents in care homes.

The partnership was formed to try and address some of the issues raised by the Care homes’ use of medicines study (CHUMS)  and ongoing concerns about safety and standards related to medication prescribing, administration and management in care homes.

The partnership is led by the National Care Forum (on behalf of the Care Provider Alliance), working with: the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Royal College of Nursing, the Health Foundation and Age UK.

The first phase of the project ran for nine months in 2011. Representatives from a range of professional bodies, plus a number of health and social care professionals currently working in and with care homes were invited to join a working group which met formally four times over the year. (A full list of members involved in the group is provided at the back of the report.)

Members of the working group pooled their knowledge and expertise to try and develop a range of practical solutions and tools which would help residents and care home staff as well as doctors, pharmacists and to reduce the incidence of medication errors and near misses in care homes. Following feedback from care homes, prototype tools were developed.

The second phase of the project ran from March 2012 through to the final event held in February 2013. During this phase 163 homes were involved of which 82 fully participated in the testing – 50.3% response. The work aimed to provide evidence about how well the tools address the problems identified and how they will help to improve medication safety in care homes.

This document briefly summarises the work of the project so far, presents a summary of the feedback from the testing in phase two and pulls together the next steps suggested by the working group at the final event in February 2013 for work which should be taken forward. The aim is to roll out the resources and improvements on a larger scale across the sector, improving the quality and safety of care for all care home residents.

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