Investment in medicines safety in aged care welcomed by PSA

Today’s Federal Government announcement of significant investment to address the challenges of medicines safety in aged care, including reducing chemical restraint, has been welcomed by the PSA.
The $25.5 million to improve medication management programs to reduce the use of medicines as a chemical restraint on aged care residents and at home will support pharmacists to ensure that more medication reviews can occur.
“The Government’s decision to allow more medication reviews to be delivered to a section of our community in dire need of this critical intervention is to be applauded,” PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said
“The PSA has long advocated for a cycle of care that delivers medication reviews conducted at a frequency and level that is dependent on patient needs, with meaningful follow-up, rather than being arbitrarily capped by funding restrictions.”
The pivotal Medicine Safety: Take Care report released by PSA this year showed that 98% of residents in aged care facilities have at least one medicine-related problem and over half are exposed to at least one potentially inappropriate medicine.
“The Federal Government’s announcement acknowledges the important role of pharmacists in ensuring the safe and quality use of medicines for elderly Australians.
“It is essential, if we are to address the inappropriate use of medicines for older Australians that pharmacists are able to spend more time on the ground in residential aged care facilities and in patients’ homes delivering this vital service.”
PSA has also welcomed the provision of $10 million to increase dementia training and support for the aged care workforce.
Pharmacists can be the key to rolling out these education programs to doctors and nurses within aged care. These measures will go some way towards delivering more time on the ground for pharmacists to assist doctors and nurses to make the right decisions about the use of medicines in aged care, including when to use them and when to stop.
“Medicine safety is everybody’s responsibility. Ensuring pharmacists have a role in supporting activities from education through to clinical governance can help deliver comprehensive and system level improvements in aged care and for elderly Australians,” A/Prof Freeman said.
This announcement follows the Federal Government’s commitment last month to make medicine safety and the quality use of medicines a National Health Priority Area.
“As medicines experts, pharmacists must be supported to spend more time across the health care system reviewing patients’ medications, providing advice to other members of the health care team and educating consumers about medicines safety, including utilising the accessible network of community pharmacists,” A/Prof Freeman said.
“Today’s announcement acknowledges the importance of medicines safety at both the patient and system level and is a step in the right direction to ensure all Australians receive timely, equitable and efficient healthcare.”
Media contact: 0487 922 176 media@psa.org.au

Download the media release here