Older people health project secures UK award

Phil Schwab, AbbVie; Hilary McKee, Western Health & Social Care Trust; Ruth Miller, Western Health & Social Care Trust; Carrie Grant, Patient Advocate.
Phil Schwab, AbbVie; Hilary McKee, Western Health & Social Care Trust; Ruth Miller, Western Health & Social Care Trust; Carrie Grant, Patient Advocate.
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A joint project by the Western and Northern Trusts which has reduced the number of inappropriate presentations at A&E has been named the overall winner of a prestigious UK award.

AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, has announced that its 2017 Sustainable Healthcare ‘Patients as Partners’ Awards has been allocated to the Medicines Optimisation in Older People programme.

The local programme was recognised for its outstanding achievements in the ‘Making Health and Social Care Patient friendly‘ category.

Jointly run by the two Trusts, the project identified a need to improve the optimisation of medicines for older people in private care homes and reablement wards, where clinical pharmacy is not normally available.

By joining up care, it has had significant benefits for older people including a 14 per cent drop in inappropriate presentations to Accident & Emergency, and a decrease in adverse drug events. Another outcome has been cost saving on medicines of £141-£180 per patient, which could realise an estimated £41-52 million saving if spread to all care homes in England and Wales.

The approach has already been rolled out across Northern Ireland.

As a winner in the this category, the team will receive a bursary of up to £3,000.

The funding is to be spent on research to grow their own experience and share best practice.

Carmel Darcy, Consultant Pharmacist at Western HSCT, said: “I am absolutely delighted for the team that we have won this award. Our project continues to deliver a high quality pharmaceutical focus for older people across Northern Ireland.

“Until now no project has accepted a holistic responsibility for the many medicines prescribed to our older people.

“By navigating the many prescribers and specialists involved in the care of the older people they encounter, our team places what matters to the patient at the centre of every medicine decision.”

The award was announced at a national healthcare conference at the King’s Fund in London, focusing on how proven innovation can be spread across the NHS more quickly.

Category Judge – Sue Farringdon, Chair of the Patients Information Forum said: “This project is to be congratulated for the way it brings together different services around the needs of the patient and delivers evidence based results, which are cost effective and scalable.

“The project tackled a clear unmet where previously there was no point of contact for patients, carers and staff and a high rate of inappropriate presentation of these patients to Trust A&E departments. The project refined and tested models, involving Consultant Pharmacist led case management and brought together GP Practices, care home managers, intermediate care, and specialist nurses and patients.”

The awards were created by AbbVie to recognise, celebrate and raise awareness of good examples of improvements that demonstrate clear benefit to the lives of patients and make our health services more sustainable.

Jerome Bouyer, UK General Manager, AbbVie commented: “The AbbVie Sustainable Healthcare Initiative develops ways to achieve better healthcare outcomes and experience for people living with long-term conditions while also making best use of limited resources. Whatever we at AbbVie can do to identify and support those who are providing great public services that allows system efficiencies is, we hope, a useful contribution.”