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Polypharmacy

Polypharmacy simply means many medicines. As we are living longer with more chronic and long-term diseases, it is becoming increasingly common for people to be prescribed many medicines – sometimes ten or more different types of medicines each day.

Patients taking multiple medicines can be at risk of complications that can lead to new illness, accidents such as falls, and increased risk of admission to hospital. Patients aged over 75 are especially vulnerable to complications. This is because as people age their body does not break down medicines in the same way as it did when they were younger.

This programme of work aims to reduce problematic pharmacy.

How?

This project will enable good quality medication reviews to take place. It will provide tools to help identify patients who are at risk because of their many medicines and guide clinicians to manage this.

As part of this workstream we will be providing training on ePACT2 and prescribing indicators for Clinical Commissioning Groups. ePACT2 is an online application that gives authorised users access to prescription data. Professionals can use the safer prescribing indicators via ePACT2 to review prescribed medication and prevent avoidable harm.

To get an initial sense of what polypharmacy initiatives are in place in the West of England, the AHSN is hosting a polypharmacy workshop in December 2018. This event will bring together key individuals working on polypharmacy initiatives to share and learn from current ‘best practice’ examples; identify opportunities and barriers to appropriate polypharmacy; inform polypharmacy priorities for 2019-20 across West of England and identify how the West of England AHSN can support.

Resources

Wessex AHSN have produced a series of videos under the ‘Meet Mo’ campaign’ to encourage people, who may be struggling with medicines, to seek help.

The first Mo video was produced to encourage patients who take several types of medicine to book a review with their local pharmacist.

Me and My Medicines is a campaign led by patients and supported by clinical staff to help people raise concerns and use their medicines better.

Want to know more?

Get in touch at contactus@weahsn.net