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Care of older people

Old age brings with it an increased likelihood of long-term conditions, as well as the prospect of taking multiple medicines. Frailty, dementia and mobility problems all contribute to the challenges faced by healthcare services when caring for ageing populations. Much can be done to improve the lives of older people – through innovative care pathways, evidence-based medicine and research into ageing and the delivery of care. Here, you can find news stories and articles on topics ranging ...

Case-based learning: palliative care

Case-based learning: palliative and end-of-life care in community pharmacySubscription


Community pharmacists encounter patients at all stages in their life; however, patients who require palliative care require dedicated time and special consideration.

X ray of an enlarged heart

Heart failure, older people and frailtySubscription

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Diagnosis of heart failure and frailty can often be masked by other long-term conditions, making the delivery of treatment goals complicated.

Osteoporotic bone SEM

Managing osteoporosis in older peopleSubscription

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How to understand bone health in the context of the older person, including risk assessment, prevention and the management of osteoporosis in patients likely to have multiple comorbidities.

Insomnia concept, bus stop

Putting insomnia to bedSubscription


An estimated 30–50% of the population will experience insomnia symptoms at some point in their lives and, in the UK, insomnia rates steadily rise with age. With a 2% increase in sales of over-the-counter sleep aids during 2017, pharmacists are seeing more patients with insomnia symptoms. Here we discuss the health implications of not getting enough sleep and what can be done to help people drift off.

Kayt Blythin is principal clinical pharmacist for medicines optimisation for care homes at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

How Kayt Blythin established a pharmacist-led medicines optimisation service in East Sussex care homes Subscription


Kayt Blythin is a principal clinical pharmacist for medicines optimisation for care homes at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

Scanning electron microscope of lung tissue

Diagnosis and management of hospital-acquired pneumonia in older adults Subscription


Hospital‑acquired pneumonia increases the length of in-patient hospital stay and is associated with high mortality rates, particularly in older people. Pharmacists and healthcare professionals need to know how to diagnose and manage the condition, and be cognisant of the gaps in the evidence base.

Pharmacist explaining dispensing label to senior male patient

How to support patients with sight loss in pharmacy

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More than two million people are affected by sight loss across the UK, which may impact on their ability to use and take their medicines correctly and safely. Here, the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Medicines Use and Safety team and Moorfields Eye Hospital provide advice and recommendations for pharmacy to provide appropriate support for people with sight loss.

The use of multiple medicines is still a major problem in British care homes, from the impact on residents to the strain on NHS resources, but ‘deprescribing’ can mitigate these risks. In the image, illustration of an elderly woman in a wheelchair

Deprescribing drugs for care home residents could improve quality of lifeSubscription


The use of multiple medicines is still a major problem in British care homes, from the impact on residents to the strain on NHS resources, but ‘deprescribing’ can mitigate these risks.

More on care of older people

Older woman taking antidepressant

Antidepressant use soars despite static depression prevalence, study findsSubscription

Use of antidepressants among older people has more than doubled over the past 20 years, despite little change in the prevalence of depression, research published in The British Journal of Psychiatry has shown.

Individualised approach to care reduces overtreatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus in frail older people Subscription

Intensive treatment with insulin and sulfonylureas in older people with low HbA1c (<53mmol/mol) can increase the risk of hypoglycaemia, morbidity and mortality. Older people are less likely to benefit from the long-term protective effects of good glycaemic control and are at risk of inappropriate polypharmacy owing to co-morbidities. 

Older person taking pills

Medication dosing could be 'poisoning' older people because of age exclusion in clinical trials


Older patients are often being ‘poisoned’ because licensed doses of drugs are only tested in younger, healthy populations, witnesses have told a House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry.

statin tablets next to their packaging

Stopping statins in older patients increases risk of cardiovascular-related hospital admission


Statin discontinuation in patients aged 75 years and over is associated with a 33% increased risk of hospital admission for a cardiovascular event, a study published in European Heart Journal has found.

older person having a check up

Less than 10% of eligible adults had NHS health check last year


Fewer than one in ten eligible adults had a NHS Health Check over the past year, figures published by the NHS have revealed.

Older person with carer

Long-term diuretic use may reduce fracture risk in people with Alzheimer’s diseaseSubscription

Use of thiazide diuretics for three years or more may reduce the risk of low-energy fracture in people with Alzheimer’s disease, study results have suggested.

An older person's bedside

NHS England fails to fill 240 pharmacy posts in care homes by March 2019 deadline

NHS England has recruited just over 200 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to work in care homes, despite suggesting that 240 roles would be filled by March 2019.

young and old hand with blood sugar test tubes

‘One-size-fits-all’ treatment targets harm frail older patients with diabetesSubscription

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HbA1c targets that ignore differences in the physiology of older patients put them at risk of severe hypoglycaemia, harm and death.

More on care of older people

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