As part of the NHS Long Term Plan's measures to improve the health and care of the elderly, NHS England has recruited experts to help prevent excessive medications being prescribed to care home residents.
Several medical and clinical experts, including clinical pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, will provide support to care home residents with the goal of improving quality of life, reducing hospital stays and decreasing excessive use of medications.
Care home residents take an average of seven medicines each day, which translates to an estimated cost of £250 million annually to the NHS. Nearly 400,000 individuals reside in nursing and residential care homes across England, with one out of seven residents being ≥85 years of age. They account for around two million days of hospitalisation and ~250,000 emergency admissions. However, 35 to 40 per cent of these admissions could be prevented through appropriate measures including avoidance of over-medication. The new £20 million programme is expected to reduce the number of emergency admissions resulting from older patients’ medicine use.
Professor Alistair Burns who heads NHS England's services for Dementia and Older People’s Mental Health said: "Older people deserve the best possible support and with many care home residents living with complex conditions, bringing in extra expert health advice will mean the NHS can reduce avoidable drug use, improve care and free up vital funding for better treatment.