This week’s news collection includes reports that the NHS is recruiting pharmacists to work in care homes across country. Elsewhere, we report on the sad news of Stephen Hawking’s passing this week.
Pharmacists in UK Care Homes
The NHS is attempting to reduce the amount of unnecessary medicines taken by the elderly residents of UK Care Homes. A recent trial has shown that medicines being reviewed by pharmacists on a regular basis can yield an annual drug costs saving of £249, and greatly improve residents’ quality of life.
It’s thought that a huge group of 70-90 year olds currently living in care homes are being over-medicated. One pharmacist, Eleesha Pentiah, spends a day in a care home to go through the residents medications and see if they can be reduced or changed. She says:
“I had an 85-year-old man who was on co-codamol after surgery, but that made him feel fuzzy so we put him on regular paracetamol instead, which was much better. Sometimes it’s as simple as altering doses of medication, taking into account lowering blood pressure as people get older and more frail. Before, they might have been on a list to see the GP – but they don’t always have enough time to analyse it all.”
Having a pharmacist available at all times will mean care home residents won’t have to visit a GP, they can receive the advice they need without taking a trip to the doctors. ‘A pill for every ill’ means that the elderly are taking far more tablets a day than they may need, and this could be having a negative effect. Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society believes that:
“This is a great start towards improving the care of elderly care home residents by making the most of the skills that pharmacists have to offer.”
Studies indicate that one in 12 of elderly hospital admissions are medicine related and putting more pharmacists in care homes can make way for positive change. Pharmacists are going to be recruited soon with the aim to get the program started in the Summer.
Visionary Physicist Stephen Hawking Dies Aged 76
Stephen Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, author, cosmologist and held the position of Director of Reasearch at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. With over 16 awards and achievements to his name, Stephen Hawking is perhaps the most famous and inspirational physicist of his time.
Sadly, on Wednesday March 14 Hawking passed away peacefully in the early hours of the morning. Tributes have been flooding in since the announcement of his death, Prime Minister Theresa May has rightly called Hawking a “brilliant and extraordinary mind” and “one of the great scientists of his generation.”
At the age of 22, Hawking was diagnosed with a rare form of Motor Neuron Disease and given only a few years to live. However, he amazed doctors and continued to study physics and significantly outlived those few years. His astounding story captured our hearts when his story was adapted for the big screen, where he was portrayed by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne.
Hawking was science’s brightest star, his wicked sense of humour and intellect coupled with his deteriorating illness made him stand out as a symbol for the endless possibilities of the human mind and body.
Stephen Hawking’s work and determination through his lifelong illness will continue to amaze and inspire generations to come.
❝ One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.❞ – Stephen Hawking