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DH sheds light on national alignment of pharmacists with care homes

A national scheme to assign pharmacists to care homes will be based upon a NHS pilot that ended earlier this year, the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) has told C+D.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced last week (November 21) the rollout of a national scheme to assign teams – including pharmacists – to care homes, “where they will get to know individual residents' needs and provide tailored treatment and support”.

When asked for more details, the DH told C+D the scheme is based upon the “successful pilot” of the ‘Enhanced health in care homes’ initiative, which ran from 2016 until this year. It aimed to improve the health of care home patients by connecting them with teams in primary, community, secondary and social care, the DH said.

Six “vanguard” organisations adopted the pilot: Connecting Care – Wakefield; Sutton Homes of Care; Airedale and Partners; and Newcastle Gateshead clinical commissioning group (CCG); East and North Hertfordshire CCG; and Nottingham CCG.

Pharmacists involved in the pilot were part of an “integrated community multidisciplinary team” alongside dieticians, district nurses, GPs and consultant geriatricians, according to NHS England’s outline of the scheme.

They helped in the weekly ‘home round’ – a cross between a hospital ward round and a home visit – that is “crucial for reviewing and planning” patients’ care, NHS England said

For example, Newcastle Gateshead CCG funded a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician to support medicines optimisation in local care homes, according to NHS England.

The DH said the pilot was designed to ensure that healthcare staff “feel part of an integrated team”, and that patients had access to primary care services and medicine reviews and maintain their links with the community.

The national rollout will draw from the best practice of the six vanguard groups to “ensure that no one ends up stuck in a hospital when they could be better cared for in the community”, the DH said.

However, the DH told C+D it cannot confirm where or when the rollout will occur.

Would you consider working in a care home?

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