Isle of Wight community pharmacists help to reduce hospital readmission

The Pharmacy Reablement Service has been running in the Isle of Wight since April 2011 and provides support for patients with complex medicine regimes or self-care issues. Patients who stand to benefit from the service are usually identified while in hospital, and a support package is developed for their release. Community pharmacists help ensure that the patient complies with their medication program once back at home.

It is not uncommon for patients to stop taking prescribed medications following discharge from hospital. Some medications can make the patients feel worse, and many patients stop taking medications as a result of side effects. Other patients will stop taking medications if they do not believe they are working, or if they are having difficulty managing their medicines schedule. Patients may then be readmitted to hospital due to complications arising from failing to adhere to medication programs.

A community pharmacist can provide support, education and guidance for the patient to encourage greater adherence to medication. This improves the quality of life for the patient and helps decrease the amount of unnecessary hospital readmissions. From April 2011 – 2014, 208 patients in the Isle of Wight received a visit from a community pharmacist as part of this service.

Of the 208 patients who received a first visit, 95 patients received a second. Isle of Wight NHS Trust reported that over 80% of patients that received follow-up visits had been adhering to their medicines regime. On second and subsequent visits the community pharmacist would assess whether anything could be improved to make adherence easier for the patient.

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust reported that patients are 55% less likely to have a 30 day readmission with a community pharmacist review. This is good news for both the patient and the NHS, and highlights the benefits of integration of community pharmacies into ongoing patient care.