This week, we published our ‘Care Home Charter for Swallowing and Medicines.’ The Charter identifies key pledges that both patients and health and care professionals will abide by whilst in care settings, focusing on patients who experience swallowing difficulties. It was produced by an Advisory Group chaired by Dr. Jackie Morris, Vice President of the Patients Association, which included care home providers, Clinical Commissioning Group representatives, as well as input from the Royal Colleges, NHS England and leading academics in the field.
The Group was set up following the publication of research and a report on dysphagia by the Patients Association. The report was based on a recent survey of 30 care homes which found that on a daily basis, staff are crushing tablets and mixing them with food to make medication easier to swallow. Altering medication (not designed to be crushed) increases the likelihood of side effects, may reduce the effectiveness of the drug and subsequently compromises residents’ safety. Yet staff had limited awareness of the impact of tampering with medication in this way.
The Charter aims to address these issues by providing information to care home residents about what they can expect from providers and also providing a steer to professionals about the requisite knowledge and skills they must possess around dysphagia and medicines administration.
We are now exploring how best to take the charter forward including implementation and training. We are particularly interested to hear your views, so if you have any ideas, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.