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Medicines Optimisation

Managing Polypharmacy in An Ageing Population

People in the UK are living longer, and many are living with more than one long-term condition. Polypharmacy is common in those with complex or multiple conditions. When moving between care settings, risk of frailty and medication related problems increase due to poor communication.

What we did

Mindful of these issues NIHR CLAHRC NWL supported 5 hospitals in Northwest London to improve inpatient care and communication regarding medications following discharge between hospital and community pharmacists. 

NIHR CLAHRC NWL supported ReMAC (Review of Medicines in Acute Care Settings), a project that aimed to sustainably increase the number of medication reviews that are conducted with older patients in acute care to optimise current medication and involve the patients in having a better understanding of their medicines and any changes as part of the review.

Linked initially to ReMAC, a prototype for My Medication Passport (MMP) was originated by patients and then co-designed with pharmacy and other healthcare professionals to influence knowledge, confidence and communication between patients, carers pharmacists and other health professionals.


What happened?

ReMAC increased recording of medicines review on patients’ discharge summaries from hospital allowing better communication to GPs. ReMAC shaped a community pharmacy referral project aimed at improving medication safety at the transfer of care from hospital to community setting. 349 patients gave permission for their medicines information on discharge from hospital to be shared with 124 community pharmacies. 80% pharmacists found this useful and time-saving. 83% said that it prevented or reduced medicines waste and 91% said that it improved information they provided to patients.