Pharmacy-carer relationship ‘vital’

george tambassis

George Tambassis has addressed a conference of carers, highlighting how pharmacy can help them

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia sponsored the Gala Dinner of the Seventh International Carer’s Conference, being held in Adelaide.

There, Guild national president Mr Tambassis told delegates that the relationship between Australia’s nearly three million informal carers and its 5,700 community pharmacies is “vital”.

“As a Melbourne based pharmacist I can vouch for that personally,” he told the audience.

Highlighting that pharmacists are Australians’ most-visited health professionals and a trusted source of advice, he said that the main area community pharmacists have always worked in is medication management “and all it entails”.

“Carers are often responsible for purchasing and administering a range of pharmacy products on behalf of the person they care for,” he said.

“This includes prescription and non-prescription medications as well as wound management, specialist products, aids and equipment.

“We understand that medication management can present a challenge to carers who are responsible for administering multiple medications in the correct dosage and at the correct frequency, ensuring that they are properly stored and have not exceeded their expiry dates, as well as monitoring and reporting side-effects.

“So we provide information about the medicines, how to take them and provide dose administration aids where they are needed. And we do this not just for the people being cared for also for the carers themselves.

“We know one of the challenges for carers is navigating the health system – which can be complex, frustrating, and time-consuming.

“As a first-point-of-contact, pharmacies can play an important role in assisting carers, through our strong connections with local medical and allied health providers.

“We also know that all-too-often carers neglect to care for themselves. Because so much of your focus is on the person you are caring for, you can at times relegate your own health to a lower priority.

“This is something that community pharmacists are well aware of and on the look-out for.”

Mr Tambassis’ words echo those of James Nevile, Amcal Senior Pharmacist, who told the AJP that carers need to be made more aware of the ways in which community pharmacy can help them.

Amcal, which hosted a booth at the conference where carers could get free blood pressure and HbA1c checks and talk about medicines management, was the conference’s platinum sponsor.

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