Staffing shortages, stretched services, and financial strain are the problems embroiling the UK social care sector, which a digital NHS pharmacist is looking to tackle head-on through a new service that seeks to save carers’ significant time while reducing medication mismanagement.
With the sole mission to relieve pressure on the care industry, PillTime – the fifth largest digital NHS pharmacy in England – has officially rolled out PillTime Care, a new service tasked with supporting care operators in their journey to implement new processes around medication administration, with an estimated 237 million medication errors occurring in the NHS in England every year.
The move is set to be a major milestone in tackling medication errors in care environments by supplying carers with an accurate pouch dispensing service – backed by a team with extensive knowledge and experience of the unique needs of care providers. The input of this expertise will allow care staff to make better use of their time in providing high-quality care to their residents.
PillTime already has a proven track record of dispensing polymedication prescriptions directly to patients free of charge through its innovative and accurate pouching service. With many home users seeing the benefits of pouch dispensing, the team has now focused on care providers.
Peter Thnoia, Chief Product and Innovation Officer at PillTime, said: “Setting up our new PillTime Care team and service is our way of stepping forward to help our embattled care sector. While some news coverage can make things seem bleak, we know it’s a sector full of dedicated and passionate individuals. The pandemic spurred digital transformation within many care businesses, and many are now looking for ways to leverage online and digital tools to deliver higher standards of care”.
“Our pouching system delivers ready-to-go medication for all of a care provider’s residents or service users in a single delivery and in a way that enables independence. Care providers currently using the service have reported that, for some residents, our pouches actually enable them to self-administer, giving them control of their medical conditions and medicines while removing a task from the workload of already stretched staff.”
Medication errors are a serious concern among patients in both primary and secondary care as they are already dealing with a medical condition, so any changes or omissions that are not part of their prescribed routine has a larger consequence. One study estimates that 42% of all errors occur within care homes where multiple medications are common and additional issues such as dysphagia add to the complexities care staff face daily.
PillTime’s Commercial Director, Sophie Bartlett, adds: “Medication rounds are a difficult part of the role for carers and often a significant source of stress. The implications of incorrectly administering medication are severe and should this happen, it can deeply impact a resident’s trust and relationship with their care team. Pouching is an established method of medication administration in care settings in Europe. Significantly, our robotic technology reduces errors by a huge margin, with the added safeguard of our on-site pharmacists ensuring every pouch and reel that leaves our facility is correct and optimised for a patient to get the most out of their medication in a way that makes it simpler for those administering it.”
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