Nurse prescribing: mental health in older people

Non-medical prescribing in mental health services has tended to focus on supplementary prescribing. This article describes a pilot in which a successful shift was made to independent prescribing in community mental health care services for older people.

The scheme worked this way: the non-medical prescriber assessed the patient, discussed the current issues and agreed treatment options with the consultant psychiatrist responsible for that patient – and was then responsible for seeing the patient, discussing the treatment, issuing prescriptions, and reviewing the medication, with ongoing discussions with the consultant as needed. Three senior nurses and four consultant psychiatrists were involved. Trust formularies were adhered to throughout the pilot.

Interviews, documentary evidence and patient questionnaires were all used to build up a picture of how the project worked, with encouraging results. The nurse prescribers felt that their relationships with patients were enhanced and that this, along with their accessibility, contributed to a coherent and responsive service. The authors conclude that they recommend this model.

Oldknow H et al. Independent nurse prescribing for older people’s mental health. Nurse Prescribing 2010; 8(2): 66-69.