Pilot scheme to provide guidance on how to spot loneliness in elderly people.

Consumer

A pilot scheme has been administered by the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) in conjunction with the Hywel Dda University Health Board, Pembrokeshire, to provide community pharmacy delivery drivers, who distribute medicines to a patient's residence, guidance on how to detect symptoms of loneliness in vulnerable adults.

Drivers will conduct examinations using a computerised device and the findings will be used to evaluate whether the OAP will benefit from social services or NHS referral.

“A pilot scheme has been put in place to provide community pharmacy delivery drivers guidance on how to detect symptoms of loneliness in vulnerable adults.“

An NPA spokesperson stated: “The NPA came up with the concept to identify people who may be lonely and socially isolated which would help health and social care professionals make targeted interventions, as well as addressing other health and care needs. We successfully applied to the Welsh government for a grant to undertake development of this project. Currently, we are in a very early stage of development.”

A Welsh government spokesperson stated: “The stakeholder team put in place by the health board will decide what is measured, once the measures have been agreed then appropriate training will be provided to the delivery drivers to allow them to use the technology and undertake the assessment.”

Director of community primary and long term care, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Jill Paterson, stated: “A large number of our patients are older and vulnerable and live in very rural, isolated communities where the pharmacy delivery driver is sometimes the only person they have any regular contact with. This scheme will build upon the relationships that we already have with local communities so that together with local authorities and third sector partners, we are able to offer interventions to reduce the risk of loneliness and social isolation, as well as promoting health and wellbeing.”

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