Innovative technology improves medication management

3rd April 2018

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Julie Spencer, Head of Care at Avery Healthcare group, discusses how the introduction of innovative technology has improved medication management within their care homes

Effective medication management has been an ongoing problem for care homes for a number of years. Reports show that almost 70% of residents have experienced at least one error in their medication regime. Now, new technology is helping Avery staff tackle this serious issue by reducing the risks associated with using a paper medication administration record sheet (MAR) in managed care homes.

On average, residents in care homes take an average of 7.2 medicines per day. With each additional medicine comes an increased risk of errors in prescribing, monitoring, dispensing and adverse drug reactions.

Julie states, “At Avery Healthcare, we needed a simple solution to ensure that our residents were receiving the right medication at the right time. We currently have 50 homes, so our teams are dealing with many complex medication regimes every day. We found that the staff’s time was regularly taken up for long periods with medication management. These processes are not only time-consuming but also reduce the time dedicated to face to face resident care.

“Initially, we decided to run a pilot scheme across two of our homes using Omnicell eMAR as it was really user-friendly and provided a robust audit trail. In addition, the dashboard presents an oversight of medication rounds within the homes. The system gathers information, provides prompts and accurate instructions for our staff and gives managers real-time medication administration data at the touch of a button.”

Each individual medication is identified through a barcode applied in the pharmacy. Medication can then be tracked at all stages from check-in at the care home and administration to the resident, to unused items that are disposed of or returned to the pharmacy. The system uses on-screen photograph identification and provides important medical history for each resident. It includes a simple alert and verification system to minimise the risk of medication administration errors in the home. Each staff member has their own log-in details which enables robust auditing.

Julie added, “Prior to using Omnicell eMAR the checking in of medication would take 5 hours per floor, totalling 15 hours of staff time per month for 3 floors. Since we have introduced the system this has been reduced significantly to 2 hours per floor which is now only 6 hours per month. This reduction of 60%, means our staff can spend more time providing face-to-face patient care”.

Omnicell is exhibiting at Care Roadshow Glasgow taking place on 17th April. Visit them on stand 20 to find out more.

References:

1. Medication errors in nursing and residential care homes, CHUMS, 2009
2. Medication errors in nursing and residential care homes, CHUMS, 2009
3. The Right Medicine: Improving Care in Care Homes, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, February 2016.

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