Patients in hospital should feel comfortable asking questions about their medicines, says the SHPA.

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia is supporting NPS Medicinewise’ Be Medicinewise Week, which has a theme of encouraging Australians to take charge of their medicines.

 “Asking questions and finding out more information about your medicines is an important element of managing your own health,” says SHPA CEO Kristin Michaels.

“Even in the hospital environment, consumers and patients should feel comfortable asking for more information about their medicines and are encouraged to discuss their medicines with their pharmacist.

“Interdisciplinary care teams in all the various hospital settings should include a hospital pharmacist who will either meet with patients directly, or work behind the scenes with doctors and nurses, so pharmacy expertise about medicines is never far away,” says Michaels.

“It’s especially important for older Australians who are often taking multiple medicines that can interact with each other, and affect their independence and quality of life, to feel confident to ask questions.

“In these cases, counselling patients so that they can manage their medicines at home and are aware of what signs of adverse effects to look for is vital, as medicine mismanagement is a key reason for the readmission of elderly patients.

“Hospital pharmacists play an important role in managing and reviewing each patients’ medications during admission, treatment and discharge from public and private hospitals.”

She says SHPA encourages all Australians to be proactive about managing their medicines and use their hospital pharmacist and community pharmacist as resources.

“They should also discuss any new medicines that have been prescribed in hospital with their GP or Community Pharmacist when they return home.”

Complementary Medicines Australia’s Carl Gibson also welcomed the Week, saying, “Given the popularity of complementary medicines, it’s wise to support consumers in making informed decisions about the complementary medicines products they purchase and for healthcare professionals to hold informed conversations with patients about their health choices.”