Reducing Inappropriate Polypharmacy in Care Homes

Polypharmacy is a global patient safety challenge and literally means ‘many medicines’. It has been defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the routine use of four or more medicines including those that are prescribed or bought in a pharmacy (including herbal medicines).1

This project explored ways to reduce inappropriate polypharmacy in care homes. The findings of the project, recommendations and learning for future work are included in the full report which also informs the Reducing Anticholinergics in Care Homes (ReACH) implementation guide.

The resources developed from this project provide tools for people to raise concerns about their own medicines. The ‘Let’s Talk about Medicines’ resources are endorsed by a patient led campaign, ‘Me and My Medicines’, which promotes ‘it’s ok to ask’ to encourage people to find out more about their medicines. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that:

“enabling people to raise any concerns about their medicines and managing medicines-related problems effectively when they happen are important to minimise harm and guide future care.”

The NICE Medicines Support Campaign, ‘Involved and Informed’, have also endorsed the ‘Let’s Talk about Medicines’ resources from this project. Together we can encourage more people to talk about their medicines.

For more information contact lydia.davies3@nhs.net.