Medication errors in care homes could be avoided if pharmacists were put in charge, research suggests.
A trial found a 91% drop in mistakes over the course of four months when a pharmacist was given full responsibility for medicine management in a care home.
Older people living in homes are more vulnerable to medication errors than those in other settings, such as hospitals.
Research carried out in a 69-bed care home found that improving communication and training between staff - including doctors, nurses, the head of the home and pharmacists - helped cut down errors.
Pharmacy records were placed under continuous review and weekly visits were carried out at the care home. The results showed putting a pharmacist in charge led to far fewer errors in areas such as medication type, dosage and records not being kept up-to-date.
The total number of errors in these areas fell from 138 to 12.
The study comes after research last November showed people living in care homes are being put at risk because of sub-standard systems for handing out medicine.
University of London experts found seven in 10 residents were victims of drug errors, having carried out snapshot inspections of 55 homes. They blamed inadequate information, over-worked staff, poor teamwork and often complex courses of medication.
The latest study was presented by postgraduate researcher Majghan Saeed at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's annual conference in London.
Source Press Association