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Care of older people

Old age brings with it an increased likelihood of long-term conditions, as well as the prospect of taking multiple medicines. Frailty, dementia and mobility problems all contribute to the challenges faced by healthcare services when caring for ageing populations. Much can be done to improve the lives of older people – through innovative care pathways, evidence-based medicine and research into ageing and the delivery of care. Here, you can find news stories and articles on topics ranging ...

Insomnia concept, bus stop

Putting insomnia to bedSubscription

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An estimated 30–50% of the population will experience insomnia symptoms at some point in their lives and, in the UK, insomnia rates steadily rise with age. With a 2% increase in sales of over-the-counter sleep aids during 2017, pharmacists are seeing more patients with insomnia symptoms. Here we discuss the health implications of not getting enough sleep and what can be done to help people drift off.

Kayt Blythin is principal clinical pharmacist for medicines optimisation for care homes at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

How Kayt Blythin established a pharmacist-led medicines optimisation service in East Sussex care homes Subscription

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Kayt Blythin is a principal clinical pharmacist for medicines optimisation for care homes at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

Scanning electron microscope of lung tissue

Diagnosis and management of hospital-acquired pneumonia in older adults Subscription

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Hospital‑acquired pneumonia increases the length of in-patient hospital stay and is associated with high mortality rates, particularly in older people. Pharmacists and healthcare professionals need to know how to diagnose and manage the condition, and be cognisant of the gaps in the evidence base.

Pharmacist explaining dispensing label to senior male patient

How to support patients with sight loss in pharmacy

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More than two million people are affected by sight loss across the UK, which may impact on their ability to use and take their medicines correctly and safely. Here, the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Medicines Use and Safety team and Moorfields Eye Hospital provide advice and recommendations for pharmacy to provide appropriate support for people with sight loss.

The use of multiple medicines is still a major problem in British care homes, from the impact on residents to the strain on NHS resources, but ‘deprescribing’ can mitigate these risks. In the image, illustration of an elderly woman in a wheelchair

Deprescribing drugs for care home residents could improve quality of lifeSubscription

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The use of multiple medicines is still a major problem in British care homes, from the impact on residents to the strain on NHS resources, but ‘deprescribing’ can mitigate these risks.

Evidence is emerging that some dementia cases could be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle but long-term studies are needed to confirm the strength of the association. In the image, conceptual illustration of dementia - a disintegrating brain

How lifestyle changes could reduce the risk of developing dementiaSubscription

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Evidence is emerging that some dementia cases could be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle but long-term studies are needed to confirm the strength of the association.

There are many reasons why patients do not take their medicines as prescribed. Discovering the specific cause of non-adherence is the best way to improve it. In the image, a weekly pill box full of medicines

Devising ways to improve medicines adherenceSubscription

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There are many reasons why patients do not take their medicines as prescribed. Discovering the specific cause of non-adherence is the best way to improve it.

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common reasons for using antibiotics in both primary and secondary care. Escherichia coli (micrograph pictured) is still the most common causative organism

Urinary tract infection: management in elderly patientsSubscription

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Around 10% of older people, and almost a third of care home residents, develop a urinary tract infection each year.

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Older person hands

Exercise interventions reduce falls in older adultsSubscription

The rate of falls in older adults living in the community can be effectively reduced with exercise interventions, the authors of a recent Cochrane review have concluded.

X-ray of hip joint

Study questions link between antidepressants and hip fracturesSubscription

A previously identified link between antidepressant use and hip fractures needs further examination, the authors of a study published in JAMA Psychiatry have concluded.

Vitamin D capsules

Monthly vitamin D dosing has no significant effect on bone mineral densitySubscription

Monthly dosing of vitamin D3 supplements in older adults does not increase bone mineral density, the results of a recent study show.

Pill dispenser box being thrown into a bin

Think outside the box: replacing multicompartment compliance aidsSubscription

In January 2019, Boots announced that it was changing the way it dispenses medicines to care homes — from multicompartment compliance aids to original packs.

Busy hospital waiting room

Pharmacists should manage medicines during transitions of care to improve medicines safety, NHS Improvement proposes

A nominated pharmacist should be designated to manage medicines during patient transitions between all settings, NHS Improvement has proposed as part of a consultation on medicines safety.

Emollient being put on hand with psoriasis

Emollient packaging should include fire risk warning, says MHRA

People who use emollient creams to treat dry and itchy skin conditions should be warned about the potential fire hazard, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has said.

Older person in hospital bed

Hospital admissions 'important driver' of potentially inappropriate prescribing, study finds

More than half of older patients were exposed to potentially inappropriate prescribing, a study of almost 40,000 patients published in The BMJ has found.

Older people with hand disabilities struggle to open blister packsSubscription

This is a plea for the designers of blister pill packs to consider the increasing numbers of older people (and others) who have serious problems removing pills from the blister packs in which they are supplied.

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