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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 ...

Isolated older woman at home

Isolated, but not alone: how pharmacies are supporting older patients during COVID-19

By Kathy Oxtoby

Community pharmacy is providing a vital connection to support older and clinically vulnerable patients during lockdown in the UK.

Failing the frailest

Failing the frailestSubscription

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A new analysis suggests that thousands of vulnerable older people could be at risk because their medicines have not been reviewed by their GP.

Case-based learning: palliative care

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

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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

By ,

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

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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

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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

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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.

More on care of older people

Older woman in a wheelchair

Bridging interventions best for hospital discharge of older adultsSubscription

Interventions supporting medicines continuity in older people are most successful in preventing hospital readmission when they bridge the gap between hospital discharge and returning home.

Older woman on their own in their home

Pharmacy delivery drivers to be trained to spot loneliness in older patientsSubscription

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Community pharmacy drivers who deliver prescriptions to patients’ homes are to be trained to spot signs of loneliness and isolation in frail older people in a pilot being developed in Wales.

How my part-time medicines safety PhD changed prescribing practice for older people

How my part-time medicines safety PhD changed prescribing practice for older people

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Pharmacist Su Wood’s work on estimating reduced kidney function led to a major change in national recommendations for prescribing in older people.

It's time for comprehensive polypharmacy reviews for older people with cance

It's time for comprehensive polypharmacy reviews for older people with cancerSubscription

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The number of older people with cancer is growing and so is their risk of harmful polypharmacy — care for this expanding group of patients must improve.

Frailty concept

Tens of thousands of severely frail older people miss out on vital medicines checksSubscription

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At least four in ten older patients failed to receive an annual medicines use review at their GP surgery in 2019, potentially putting them at increased risk of falls or hospitalisation.

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 trialsSubscription

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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.

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