|Expansion of pharmacists’ role in care homes supported by study
Pharmacist independent prescribers (IPs) reduce the risk of potential harm from polypharmacy prescriptions in care homes residents, according to a study published in the BMJ. Researchers conducted a randomised controlled trial including 72 care homes across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the intervention group, care home trained pharmacist IPs were integrated into the homes to improve medicines management and safety, providing pharmaceutical care to residents, with weekly visits over six months. This included developing a pharmaceutical care plan for each resident in the trial, carrying out medicine reviews/reconciliation, training staff, supporting with medicines-related procedures, deprescribing, and authorising prescriptions. Participants in the control group received usual general practitioner led care and usual care by community pharmacists. Although fall rate risk ratio for the intervention group compared with the control group “did not show a significant reduction”, the study did show a significant reduction in Drug Burden Index. This meant that “potential future harm from medicines was significantly reduced,” the researchers say.