Medication programme extended to more homes, home-care providers

SINGAPORE - A programme that gets pharmacists to help make sure nursing home residents take their medicines promptly and safely will be extended to more homes and home-care providers. It follows a successful one-year pilot at six nursing homes in the last year.

They are St Theresa's Home, Society for the Aged Sick, Tai Pei Social Service, Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged Sick, Jamiyah Nursing Home and Moral Home for the Aged Sick.

A spokesman for the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), an entity under the Ministry of Health that oversees the long-term care of the elderly, said it would start getting in touch with other nursing homes and hoped to extend the programme to all eventually.

For the pilot, pharmacists from Guardian Health & Beauty, Watson's Personal Care Stores, NTUC Unity Healthcare and the National Healthcare Group visited the six homes and met individual residents to sort out their medications.

They did this on their own time, on top of their jobs. The initiative by the AIC and the Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore also had the pharmacists review how health-care staff in the homes, usually nurses, managed the medication requirements of residents.

They then made recommendations to improve safety. One was to keep a checklist of medications for each patient that the staff could refer to readily.

Nurse manager Goh Liang Kim of Tai Pei Social Service said it is often a challenge to keep track of multiple medications from different sources for just one elderly resident.

"For this, the pharmacists have been a great help. They assist us to sort out medicines according to the needs of our residents, and also ensure they are packed properly," she added.

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