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There are approximately 430,000 older people in the UK currently living in care homes, a figure some three times greater than that represented by the UK acute hospital sector.

Residents of care homes represent a particularly vulnerable patient cohort due to multiple co-morbidities and exposure to polypharmacy that can lead to increased susceptibility to adverse drug events.

Efforts have been made to measure inappropriate prescribing and administration in care homes using a variety of validated tools. Whilst these studies have concluded that there are issues, the studies have been relatively small scale.

Reducing errors and waste

The research team, led by Dr Mat Smith, in collaboration with Invatech Health (a Bristol based health technology SME), have evaluated a combined electronic prescription capture system and electronic medicines administration record-keeping system in over 150 care homes and pharmacies. Currently, the system captures data on more than 15,000 care home residents. The captured prescribing data alongside medicines administration records is then mined to explore population level issues related to epidemiology and prescribing practices.

The system has been shown to reduce administration errors by 90% and medicines wastage by 20% in care homes, and allows pharmacists to proactively intervene in the management of medicines in the care homes and address prescribing issues with the prescriber.

The system has also been used to explore expanded models of medicines administration in care homes with a particular focus on enabling carers to undertake medicines administration to residents under the delegation of nurses in order to free nurse time to engage in more advanced aspects of care planning.

Award photo for case study 4
In 2016 the team was awarded the Health Service Journal Award for Improving Care with Technology.

More information

For more information about this project, please contact:

Dr Mathew Smith

Dr Mathew Smith

Senior Lecturer and Director of Learning and Teaching

+44 (0)29 2087 9286