Sep - Dec 2016
Medicines wasted in care homes
Strapline – Only order what they need
Hashtag - #onlyorderwhatheyneed #yourmedicines
A report by the Department of Health estimates that unused medicines in care homes cost the NHS around £50 million every year. We estimate that in the Norfolk and Waveney area this equates to approximately £786,3772 of medicine wasted which could be better spent by the NHS.
How does this happen?
Sometimes patients receive medicines they don't actually use, or use only occasionally. This means that they can lose out on the intended health benefits of their prescription. The reasons why patients don't take all their medication can vary and audits have shown that around half of all the medication returned had not even been opened. This means that patients are ordering and receiving medication that they don't even start to use.
Care homes have a key role in helping reduce medicines waste. Within care homes residents are often on numerous medicines and may administer their own medicines or more frequently staff may assist or prompt residents with their medicines. Having good procedures for ordering, storage and administration of medicines can help reduce wastage.
How can the care home staff help save money wasted on medicines?
• Only order what they need / Check quantities/stock levels of medicines before reordering.
• Ask the GP practice to send residents’ prescriptions back to the care hometo be checked for discrepancies before dispensing.
• If medicines are missing or medicines are on prescriptions that are not required for this month’s cycle, raise with the GP surgery.
• Ask the community pharmacist to remove discontinued medicines from the Medication administration Records (MAR) chart. This helps prevent discontinued medicines being ordered in error.
• Ask the GP to remove any discontinued medicines from the repeat portion of the prescription. This also helps prevent discontinued medicines being ordered in error.
• Order all residents medicines at the same time– this not only saves time but prevents the risk of medicines being ordered by mistake.
• Meet regularly with the community pharmacistand GP to ensure clarity of the ordering process.
• Unopened creams and lotions can be used until the expiry date and so do not need to be reordered automatically every month.
• If residents continually refuse to take medicines discuss with the GP before reordering.