Development of a ‘best practice’ guide on the safe use of medicines after discharge from mental health hospitals
8 February 2024
Richard Keers discusses working in the new Improving Medication Safety theme as part of the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Research Collaboration.
Richard Keers is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Pharmacy at The University of Manchester with experience as a mental health pharmacist. He has been part of the Medication Safety theme at the Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre for a number of years. He is working in the new Improving Medication Safety theme as part of the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Research Collaboration (which began on 1st April 2023).
Richard’s work focusses on the safe use of medicines across different health settings and he has a particular interest in supporting patients with mental illness to use their medicines safely and effectively. His new study, ‘Developing a framework for medication optimisation and safety in primary care following discharge from mental health hospitals’ has been awarded funding from the NIHR School for Primary Care Research. The study began in summer 2023 and will run for 16 months.
In this blog, Richard explains why this project is needed and how the research will be carried out, as well as the impact it could have on how medicines are used safely by health professionals and people with mental illness after they are discharged from a mental health hospital.
What problem will this research address?
When people with mental illness are discharged from mental health hospitals, we know they may be more likely to be re-admitted or need care due to problems with their medicines. They may be leaving hospital with different medicines to when they were first admitted.
Patients, carers and health professionals need more support to work together to help patientsadjust to treatment changes after they’ve been discharged. Improving the safety of mental health hospital discharge and the use of medicines are therefore seen as important priorities for patients and health services.
However, there has been little research to:
- Understand how patients and their carers use and understand their medicines in the community after discharge,
- Find out what support patients, carers and health professionals need, and
- Understand who they may ask for this support. Health professionals working in communities supporting patients may lack guidance on how best to work together. This is important, as mental health, general practice, community pharmacy and social care are now expected to work more closely together.
How will the research address the problem?
Our study aims to create a ‘best practice’ guide for health professionals and patients/carers to use in the community following discharge from mental health hospitals. This is designed to help them work better together so medicines are used in the safest and most effective way.
To do this, our study will be carried out in three stages and will be guided by people with lived experience who will join our research team and project steering group:
- Stage 1
We will interview patients, carers and health professionals to find out how medicines are used and what people feel could help or hinder their safe and effective use after mental health hospital discharge.
We are also interested in understanding what support is needed with medicines and if and where this can be found.
- Stage 2
Using the results of stage one of the project, we’ll host workshops that will bring together patients, carers, health professionals and policy makers to decide on the most relevant and important content for a ‘best practice’ guide. This includes thinking about different perspectives as well as other elements that are likely to make a difference.
- Stage 3
The ‘best practice’ guide will be created and we aim to make this available as separate versions for patients/carers and health professionals.
What impact is expected from this research?
The main outcome of our research will be the ‘best practice’ guide. We hope it’ll be available online for health professionals and patients.
The separate versions of the guide should help our research to be better understood. They will provide opportunities for people to be empowered, learning more about medicines and how to work together to use them safely after hospital discharge.
We are looking forward to raising awareness of the research and will be sharing the guide at conferences, in academic journals and across social media.
- FRAMEWORK FOR MEDICINES OPTIMISATION AND SAFETY IN PRIMARY CARE POST MENTAL HEALTH DISCHARGE. Project No: 646
Reblogged with permission from GM PSTRC. The views expressed in these blog posts are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care, The University of Manchester, The University of Nottingham or the Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre.