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Community Wardens health pilot scheme is a national success

Introduction

A national pilot involving Community Wardens in the Chichester District targeting support to help older and vulnerable people manage their medicines has been a success.


The Wardens were one of only three Warden Schemes in the country to take part in the trial. They were approached to participate by Age UK England and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

"The wardens provide a friendly, re-assuring face within the community. This project enhanced the regular visits and services they already carry out in supporting older and vulnerable people within the Chichester District," says Cllr Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Wellbeing, and Community Services at Chichester District Council.

"80% of people aged 75 or over take at least one medicine, and over a third take four or more. The likelihood that an elderly patient will be discharged from hospital on the same medicines they were admitted with is less than 10%. In fact, 60% of patients will have three or more medicines changed during their stay. To date, there has been no agreed system in place to track and manage different medicines issued by doctors, hospitals, pharmacies etc., and those bought off the shelf.

"This pilot tested new patient information factsheets, covering all prescriptive medicines, herbal medicines, and any allergies, to help combat this. They were also given easy to understand advice and local support. We're pleased with the results - 85% of participants now better understand why they take specific medicines - an increase of around 18%. More also feel increased confidence in which medicines they should take regularly, and are keeping an up-to-date record in case of an emergency. Wardens also helped people identify medicines that they no longer needed to avoid confusion and risk.

"The outcomes show that our Wardens provide effective targeted support to aide potentially vulnerable residents in the community. Their families and carers now feel better able and more confident in managing and understanding the medicines they take. Also, our Wardens can now identify issues within the community easier and help target support to older and vulnerable people even more than they already do."

The results of the pilot have been incorporated into national guidance on keeping patients safe and getting their medicines right, which was presented at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's 'Medicines Safety Symposium'.

For more information, please contact Andrew Pilley, Community Development Manager at Chichester District Council on 01243 534858 or email apilley@chichester.gov.uk