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Care home residents "not receiving reviews"

Nearly seven out of 10 care home residents do not get a regular planned medical review by their GP, and 44% are not getting a regular planned review of their medication, a survey said today.

The survey was launched by the Older People's Specialists' Forum (OPSF) and asked care homes across the UK about their experiences of accessing healthcare services for their residents.

The survey also found that 59% could access specialist dementia services such as memory clinics and community mental health teams. Most care homes could request input from specialist nurses when a problem had arisen but very few homes appeared to have access to input from specialists to prevent problems arising.

The OPSF is a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals specialising in the care of older people to act as a vehicle to engage with national professional leads in the Department of Health and to exchange information. The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) provides secretarial support to the OPSF.

Dr Duncan Forsyth, OPSF Chair, Consultant Geriatrician at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge and BGS members said, "Many people in care homes have complex and serious medical needs. They require ongoing and comprehensive care and support. The results from our small snapshot survey suggest that such residents may not be getting the support they require. This is a cause for concern.

"What is particularly worrying is that only just over half of residents get a medication review. A recent study found that care home residents on average were taking seven medications each and over two-thirds were subject to at least one medication error."