The featured document is a Department of Health paper ‘Medicines Management: Everybody’s Business. A guide for service users, carers and health and social care practitioners’. This is a nice paper as it highlights one of the pillars of clinical governance – patient and public involvement being both written by service users and carers and being meant for service users and carers as well as health care workers.
The paper begins with a discussion of some of the experiences of service users and a need for impartial advice to help them in making decisions about medication. There follows a useful discussion of how a person can prepare for a consultation with their doctor and some of the information they can expect to receive as well as a mention of personal care plans. In the section on positive practice there are a few points which can provide a forum for further discussion. For instance the doctor is expected to explain the possible interactions of over-the-counter herbal medications with the prescribed medications. However physicians are responsible for prescribing regulated medications where there are standard sources of information for interactions. With herbal medications there are different standards of regulation and the large scale clinical trials for treating specific conditions are not required (although phytotherapy does involve use of clinical trials). There are differences in the composition of many herbal medications depending on the supplier for instance and so it may be very unclear about which active ingredients are in a particular herbal medication. Therefore this issue is less than straightforward.
One point was that the person could approach their pharmacist if they were having difficulties of concordance with their medication and there was also a useful point about advanced directives. What is incredibly useful is a checklist of questions that the person can ask their doctor about the medication. If this was available beforehand, it could encourage the person to ask questions they might otherwise have overlooked. The document finishes with a list of internet resources for further information.
This is an interesting document with lots of useful resources for people who may need to take medication. Such documents could for instance be appropriately adapted for incorporation into services which may have potential benefits for patients and could be an area for future research.
This approach could be adapted for different patient populations.
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