As the COVID-19 pandemic continues it is important to ensure that Care Homes have continued access to:
- Sufficient medicines to meet patient needs
- Appropriate pharmaceutical advice
At the onset of the pandemic many community pharmacies were already contracted by the HSCB to provide the ‘Advice to Nursing Home and Residential Care Homes’ service to individual Care Homes. Given that some aspects of the service such as on-site visits were not possible at that time, CPNI worked with HSCB colleagues to develop a ‘Care Home Pandemic Support Service’. This additional service ensured support could still be provided remotely by the community pharmacist, for example via telephone or video conferencing. This support helped nursing and residential care homes ensure the safe handling and correct administration of drugs/medicines supplied to their residents. The service contract was operational from December 2020 to March 2021.
As Northern Ireland is currently in phase one of the Visiting with Care pathway, professional visits to care homes have resumed in most cases. CPNI continues to liaise with pharmacy contractors and the HSCB in relation to Care Home services, and in the future development of services in this area.