The concurrent use of 5 or more medications by one individual – is becoming increasingly a challenging phenomenon that demands attention at clinical policy and practice level. In the past decade, the average number of items prescribed for each person per year in England has increased by 53.8% from 11.9 to 18.3. It is 35-50% of community older people aged 65 years and above take 5 or more medications. The King’s fund ¹ published in November 2018 a report “Polypharmacy and medicines optimisation: Making it safe and sound” where they distinguished between the terms ‘appropriate’ and ‘problematic’ polypharmacy.
Appropriate polypharmacy: means prescribing for an individual for complex conditions or for multiple conditions in circumstances where medicines use has been optimised and the medicines are prescribed according to best evidence.
Problematic polypharmacy where multiple medications are prescribed inappropriately, or where the intended benefit of the medication is not realised.
I’m Nuno Tavares, a staff nurse at Queen Alexandra Hospital and I’m also a PhD student carrying out research for NIHR CLAHRC Wessex and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. My research is about improving end of life care for patients with COPD.
Living with a serious long-term condition is often hard and complex work. My team and I are interested in finding ways to reduce complexity and lift the burden for people with these conditions, and their families, at end of life.
To help us think about the kind of research questions we should be asking we held a research forum at Freemantle Community Centre in Southampton. We invited people with a range of conditions to join us and to inform our work.
This site promotes independent research by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Funding Scheme. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health