Planning medicines support

Featured article - 10 January 2018
Simon Hill, regional medicines manager, Care Quality Commission

Head-shot of the author, Simon Hill, regional medicines manager, Care Quality Commission

What does good look like for people receiving medicines support at home? Guidance is here. The NICE / SCIE guideline: ‘Managing medicines for adults receiving social care in the community’ is a landmark guideline that will improve the safety of medicines handling in people’s own homes. This guideline clearly pulls together the key elements of safe medicines handling for people being supported at home; the Care Quality Commission expects providers to pay due regard to this evidence based practice guidance.

Person centred care

The NICE guideline shifts the focus ever closer to personalised medicines support. There is no mention of levels of support. Remember levels One, Two and Three? They are no longer used. Describe what support a person needs; don’t label them with a number. The six Rs outlined in the guideline should be the guiding principles for all medicines support.

These should be embedded into:

  • The policies
  • Staff training and competency assessments
  • The culture of a service.

The sixth R, the right to refuse, reminds us that people should have control over medicines and should be fully informed of the risks to help them make decisions that are right for them.

Making it happen

The quick guide about planning medicines support is an excellent short summary of the key issues the NICE guidance raises. It describes what needs to be taken into account when planning and reviewing medicines support. Get planning correct from the start so care workers have the right guidance and tools to make sure people are supported safely with their medicines.

Home care managers need to drive quality improvements; review their policies against the NICE guidance, train staff based on the guidance and make sure they are competent to carry out person centred planning of medicines support.

We all know medicines support is not a five minute job, ordering, recording, checking and managing changes takes time and this needs to be recognised. NICE guidance encourages strong collaboration between providers, commissioners, GP’s, Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to make sure medicines support is properly assessed, planned and the right amount of time is commissioned for care workers to support people safely.

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