The Guild supports pharmacists in addressing abuse of older Australians, says its executive director
Writing in this week’s edition of Forefront, David Quilty has highlighted the role pharmacists play in caring for the elderly, and welcomed the Royal Commission into residential aged care.
“The Pharmacy Guild condemns any form of elder abuse,” he says.
“Abuse is completely incompatible with compassion and care, which are the core pillars of Australia’s health care system, the obligations of health professionals, and the responsibilities of institutions that look after our elderly.
“We welcome the findings of the recent Carnell and Paterson Review into these issues, in particular noting the recommendations that call for a greater focus on the quality and safe use of medicines in residential aged care settings.
“The Guild will continue to strongly encourage and support community pharmacies to ensure that they contribute to addressing elder abuse across all aged care settings.”
Australia’s pharmacists have a vital interest in the forthcoming Royal Commission, he writes.
“Medicines play a critical role in the quality of life of people living in residential aged care, and consistent standards in relation to medicines and medication management will help ensure a best practice approach to meeting quality and safety objectives.
“Community pharmacies that work with residential aged care facilities have long adopted an approach of translating best practice from the community sector into aged care settings, including by supplying medicines to aged care residents in individualised dose administration aids.
“This is a vital service in supporting aged care staff to deliver Quality Use of Medicines outcomes for residents.”
Mr Quilty writes that there is a strong argument to support requiring all medicines to treat chronic disease which are regularly dispensed to aged care residents to be supplied in DAAs.
These would attract “appropriate” financial recognition for pharmacies for their safe preparation and checking, as well as the maintenance of accurate medication charts.
Mr Quilty also highlighted the role of Residential Medication Management Reviews undertaken by pharmacists.
“There is a real risk if these services are delivered remotely from the patient.
“Wherever possible, the delivery of these services should be directly connected to medicines supply and focus on known medication-related issues in residential aged care, including overprescribing, the overuse of medication for behavioural issues in patients with dementia, medicine misadventure and errors during transitional care and support for palliative care patients.”
He pointed out that pharmacists also help support ageing Australians in their own homes for longer, through the provision of medicine-related services.
“There is a wealth of evidence from around the world that medicine misadventure and medicines non-adherence are a key cause of unnecessary hospital admissions and readmissions and premature entry into residential aged care.”
However he adds, “currently there is scant recognition in the various assessment tools and approved services menus for home care packages of the importance of medication management in enabling ageing Australians to continue living independently in the community”.
“Our view is that the consumer directed model of community aged care support should fully recognise medication management and support as a core service to enable ageing Australians to live independently in the community,” Mr Quilty writes.