Frail older people are at risk of adverse events in care homes or at home but small interventions can have a significant impact on safety.
There are over 10 million people aged 65 or over in the UK and 2 million of these have care-related needs. Despite this little is known about patient safety in the home.
Research is beginning to show a concerning number of adverse events that occur in the home or residential home, particularly after discharge from hospital (76% of patients suffered an adverse event post discharge).
The Alzheimer's Society has produced a series of factsheets for healthcare professionals, carers and patients on providing a safe home environment for patients with dementia. These include practical advice from occupational therapists on equipment, adaptions and improvements to increase safety in the home.
Residential care homes for frail older people have a number of key safety improvement areas. The Care Homes Use of Medicines Study commissioned for the Department of Health, was designed to establish the prevalence, types and underlying causes of medication errors in residential and nursing homes, and assess the ensuing harm. It found that two thirds of residents were exposed to one or more medication errors.
People with dementia occupy approximately two-thirds of all residential care beds available in the UK. The Royal College of Arts has produced a design sourcebook which can help care homes to make the many small improvements that can have a big positive effect on the experience and safety of care homes for residents with dementia.