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Finding new ways to administer medications to care homes during COVID-19

Thursday, 17 September, 2020

Our pharmacy technicians regularly conduct face-to-face reviews of medications for residents in care homes and also complete medications requests for patients newly discharged from hospital.

It was incredibly important that, during COVID -19, this service continued so that patients could receive their medications. But with remote working in place, the way this service operated had to change. Our technicians were encouraged to think outside the box – and quickly.

They recognised that GPs were using a system called AccuRx, whereby patients could send in pictures of their various symptoms. As the care homes were familiar with this process, AccuRx was adapted by the pharmacy technicians so that MAR charts (which is a picture of the medicines in the home) could be remotely viewed and saved directly to the patient’s GP record.

AccuRx is an IT system which works alongside the GP system Emis or System 1. Anyone involved in a patient’s care can easily communicate with others involved in relation to a patient’s medicine via a video call or text messaging and photos can be viewed clearly on the GP Screen to reconcile with the repeat medicines.

Pharmacy technician Clare Collins, said, “During the pandemic we have been able to continue to review patient medication by ensuring the continuation of this service remotely. We hoped we could mimic the service provided to care homes pre-COVID-19, without physical access to the charts in the care home.

“As with any introduction of new technology there were challenges involved. Approval was requested from each GP surgery and access to patient records was then needed from each practice manager. Additionally, there were different levels of IT knowledge amongst staff in the care homes.

“Despite these challenges, this service has been incredibly successful and we are reviewing whether this way of working will continue in the future.”