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Safe Handling of Medications
There are many aspects to the safe handling of medicines although it translates mainly to the 5 R's: R... READ MORE >

How Chemistree can use the New Medicine Service (NMS) to benefit Care Home residents
The New Medicine Service (NMS), an initiative designed to help patients adhere to medication guidelines... READ MORE >

Pharmacy advice essential in providing quality care to the elderly
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The launch of the Electronic Pharmacy Advice Form
Chemistree has launched its new electronic pharmacy advice form, an updated version of the paper pharma... READ MORE >

CQC prosecutes care home for breaches in regulations
CQC standards place great emphasis on ensuring that staff understand how people’s health and welf... READ MORE >

Improve care and reduce medication costs for Carehome residents
Residents in Care Homes are amongst the most vulnerable members of our society. They are likely to be e... READ MORE >

Opportunity to cut medication wastage and improve care
A Department of Health study last year found that about 300m worth pounds of medicines are wasted each ... READ MORE >

Chemistree at the Care Show, London Olympia, 11th and 12th October 2011
Chemistree is a specialist provider of pharmacy services to Care Homes in the NHS and Private Sector an... READ MORE >

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Opportunity to cut medication wastage and improve care

A Department of Health study last year found that about 300m worth pounds of medicines are wasted each year in England alone. Waste medication in the care home sector is a particularly well recognised problem. 

A major reason for waste medications is an inadequate medication ordering and review process. A lot of homes unfortunately forfeit the ordering process to a regular pharmacy; therefore the prescriptions go directly from the surgery to the pharmacy and are never seen by the home. This bad practice is problematic; firstly the pharmacy will not know if the resident is having any problems with that medication, secondly whether the medication is still required and what the current stock levels are in the home.

It is vital that stock levels are taken into consideration along with the opinion of the resident as to whether the repeat ordering of medication is necessary. Medications such as laxatives, painkillers, sedatives, indigestion remedies and emollients are more likely to be wasted if the opinion of the resident and their requirements are not taken into consideration. For example, there is no need to keep ordering movicol sachets for a resident who is now having normal bowel movements. It should be remembered that if the carer or resident feels that medications are no longer required, the doctor should be contacted and asked to review, as medications can’t be stopped without the doctor’s consent.  

Homes who take responsibility to order their medications can not only reduce drug wastage but can reduce the harm caused by errors in over prescribing and improve the clinical outcomes for residents. In conclusion, reducing the medication wastage from care homes is not simply a cost cutting exercise but will also indicate the quality of care the residents are receiving. The care home’s regular pharmacy is ideally placed to take the responsibility to ensure that the care home staff have been adequately trained in these processes.

At Chemistree, apart from providing this medication training to all our care homes, we have also developed a checklist that we get the staff member doing the ordering to fill out and send to us with the monthly prescriptions. This enables our pharmacists to track the processes being carried out and to offer further advice if necessary. 

By Alpa Karia Clinical Services Pharmacist

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