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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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Frail older woman with a walking frame

Pharmacists begin deprescribing pilot for frail older people with diabetes

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Exclusive: New type 2 diabetes guidance, which is the first in the UK to include specific recommendations for treating frail older people, is being piloted by pharmacists working in GP surgeries in south west England.

Close up of a full pill box

Increase in potentially inappropriate medicines use seen in all older adults, study results suggestSubscription

After assessing patterns of medicines use in patients with and without dementia, researchers found that the risk of potentially inappropriate medicines use significantly increased in all groups

Understanding cognitive barriers to safer prescribing for frail patientsSubscription

Deciding to stop medicines that have been prescribed in line with clinical guidelines could be seen as counter-cultural. It goes against the grain for clinicians, and often patients, too. This Safer Prescribing for Frailty project used an understanding of the cognitive barriers to stopping medicines to enable general practice teams to design, test and embed ways to better meet the medication needs of their frail populations. We took a comprehensive approach to this assessment using ...

Young man checking older woman's blood pressure

Regular health checks needed for older people with learning disabilities to reduce late diagnosis, NICE says

Older people with learning disabilities should have annual health assessments to help monitor their health more effectively, according to new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Medical cannabis in small cases

Medical cannabis safe and effective in older people, study finds Subscription

Research has shown medical cannabis to be safe and effective for treating pain in older people

Older person with a range of medicines in blister packs on the table

Geriatrician assessment could help GPs with older people’s medicines optimisation

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A study has found that involving secondary care geriatricians in general practice could help support GPs in optimising older patients’ medications.

Close up of elderly person's hands holding pills

Improving medicines optimisation for care home residents: Wigan Borough CCG’s approachSubscription

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Although clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are not responsible for monitoring or regulating care homes, Wigan Borough’s approach demonstrates that it is possible for CCG staff to work collaboratively with care home and social care teams to improve outcomes for patients.

Micrograph of T-cell infected with HIV viruses

Optimising the health and wellbeing of older people living with HIV in the United Kingdom Subscription

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Care for people with HIV has improved, meaning that more people are living with HIV into older age with normal life expectancy. Therefore, there are various challenges and opportunities facing healthcare professionals when providing care to this changing demographic.

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