A change for the better

More access to MMRs in aged care settings “welcome”, consultant pharmacists say

The Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP) has welcomed the Aged Care Royal Commission’s recommendations for improving medication safety in aged care settings.

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was tabled in Parliament last week (1 March), and recommended “fundamental reform” of the entire aged care system.

The Commissioners made 148 recommendations, including one to “provide comprehensive medication management reviews by pharmacists to prevent harmful medicine interactions, overuse of medication or chemical restraint via inappropriate use of antipsychotics”.

“In aged care, medication management reviews are critical to reduce chemical restraints and other inappropriate use of medications,” the report stated.

“People living in residential aged care are entitled to only one Residential Medication Management Review every 24 months, unless there are significant changes to their medical condition or medication regimen.

AACP Board chair, Marc Apolloni said: “in its recommendations, the Commissioners have indicated their strong support for increased access to medication management reviews.

“The funding of residential medication reviews (RMMRs) on entry to care and annually thereafter (or more often if there has been a significant change to the person receiving care’s condition or medication regimen) reflects the ongoing need for careful and timely review and collaboration between the accredited pharmacist, doctor and resident to optimise medication management,” he said. 

From 1 January 2022 it is anticipated that reviews will include people in residential respite care and transition care. Mr Apolloni noted this was an important extension for the review programs that would improve access in areas of potential need.

The AACP also welcomed the suggestion that more information was required to enable services to be assessed for quality and is keen to work with Government and the Pharmacy Programs Administrator (PPA) to ensure that this occurs.

The report stated “the Australian Government should ensure that compliance activities for Medication Management Reviews focus on the quality of the services being provided as well as the accuracy of claims for payment.

Commissioner Briggs added that there “should also be monitoring of how general practitioners respond to medication management reviews to ensure ongoing better practice prescribing”

The AACP said it looked forward to supporting Government and other stakeholders in the implementation of these important recommendations to improve the use of medicines in this vulnerable group.


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