Doncaster’s pharmacists are helping to keep frail people out of hospital with two pilot schemes.
Elderly and other vulnerable people are particularly at risk of having chest problems and falls at this time of year, which can often result in them being taken to hospital for emergency care.
But thanks to two new ‘pilot’ schemes funded by NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) the borough’s community based pharmacists are using their front-line skills to help people stay fit and well at home.
Prompted by research carried out in South Yorkshire which revealed around 95 per cent of patients who are issued with an inhaler don’t know how to use one properly, the borough’s community based pharmacists are now providing free individual training sessions for inhaler users to ensure they get the best results from their medication.
Dr Nick Tupper, Chair of the CCG, said: “Under our new scheme, patients prescribed an inhaler will be offered the training session when they need a new one and existing users can call in at a pharmacy to check that they are using the equipment properly. We know that many people with on-going respiratory problems are not getting the maximum benefit from their inhaler simply because they are not using the correct technique, such as breathing at the appropriate time and pace when they inhale.
“We’re hoping that by being shown how to improve their technique, people will see an improvement in their health. Another benefit will be a financial saving to the NHS by making more efficient use of the inhalers, some of which cost more than £60 each.
“I urge everyone who uses an inhaler to ask their pharmacist to check that they are using it properly.”
The other new initiative funded by the CCG is designed to reduce the number of falls that elderly and frail local people have by using pharmacists to review patients’ medication. Research carried out by the Government’s health and care watchdog, NICE, has found that people aged over 65 who are taking three or more different medications are more at risk of having a fall.
Doncaster CCG said that both schemes will be evaluated at the end of March 2014 to see how successful they have been.