Defining pharmacist roles could help: PSA

dementia-friendly communities: older hand held by younger hands

The Royal Commission into aged care has included medication management in its terms of reference, a move welcomed by the PSA

The Commissioners, Justice Joseph McGrath and Ms Lynelle Briggs AO have been directed to examine a number of aspects of aged care, including medication management, dignity, choice and control, clinical care, mental health, personal care and nutrition.

Positive behaviour supports to reduce or eliminate the use of restrictive practices, end of life care and systems to ensure high quality care is delivered will also be on the agenda.

“We welcome the Royal Commission’s commitment to investigate medication management in aged care, which has been a concern for many years,” said PSA national president Dr Shane Jackson.

“Medicines are complex and medication errors cost Australia more than $1.2 billion annually.

“PSA believes clearly defining the roles and utilising the expertise of pharmacists in aged care facilities would ensure appropriate prescribing, a reduction in medication errors, and clinical, operational and economic benefits through the safe and optimal use of medicines.”

In its contribution to the Terms of Reference, PSA urged the Government to ensure the Royal Commission examines the extent of suboptimal medication management in aged care, particularly the use/overuse of antipsychotics, sedatives and antimicrobials, and determine interventions and opportunities to address this to ensure safe and effective medication treatment.

PSA also suggested the Terms of Reference include how requirements of the Aged-Care Quality Standards and related guidelines relating to medicines management are being met in residential aged care facilities, and whether the principles of the Government’s Quality Use of Medicine strategy are currently being met within aged care.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Royal Commission just ahead of the airing of a Four Corners report, Who Cares? which uncovered a number of failings in the residential aged care system.

A key problem identified in the Four Corners report was the overuse of psychotropic medicines.

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