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Professional Standards for Homecare Services updated by RPS

Revised Professional Standards for Homecare Services have been published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) to reflect the growth and increasing complexity of Homecare Services across the UK.

Originally published in 2013, the standards aim to ensure consistent, high-quality care for patients receiving medicines and associated services in their own homes that would previously have been supplied in hospitals.

The newly revised Standards provide a more succinct best practice framework and support teams in the planning, commissioning and delivering all Homecare Services.

And they enable providers to ensure the safety and wellbeing of patients, protecting them from avoidable incidents and facilitating the best possible outcomes from their prescribed medicines.

Split into three domains, the Standards focus on the patient experience; governance, compliance and patient safety; and leadership and workforce.

‘As there have been significant changes, it is strongly recommended that all definitions are read and understood to assist in the interpretation of the standards themselves and the document should be read in full,’ the Standards’ introduction says.

It adds: ‘We direct you to the particular importance of understanding the definition of Homecare Organisation and Commissioners prior to reading these Standards.’

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The revised standards apply irrespective of which Homecare Organisation delivers each element of the multi-organisation Homecare Service. They promote leadership and strategic planning within Homecare Services and support ongoing work to continually improve Homecare Services as well as patient care and experience.

A multidisciplinary UK-wide group participated in the update, including representatives from the National Homecare Medicines Committee, the Association of Pharmacy Technicians, The Pharmacy Forum of Northern Ireland and the Royal College of Nursing.

The final document was informed by a consultation process to ensure the standards align with the needs and expectations of recipients of Homecare Services, as well as commissioners and providers, the RPS said.

Wing Tang, head of professional standards at RPS said: ‘The consultation gathered evidence which emphasised the need for improvement to the homecare standards. Adherence to the refreshed standards, which consider present and future needs in homecare services, will ensure patients receive the highest level of care.

‘RPS is committed to advancing healthcare standards through continuous collaboration with patient groups, users of our standards and stakeholders.’

Professor Cathy Harrison, chief pharmaceutical officer for Northern Ireland, added: ‘I welcome the publication of the updated Professional Standards for Homecare Services which will support safe and effective care for patients and inform improvements in the quality of current and future services across the UK.’

In October 2023, the RPS unveiled interim professional standards for ‘hospital at home’ pharmacy services focusing on virtual wards.

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