SHPA welcomes new aged care recommendations

Clear patient safety measures aligned with recommendations made by the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) have emerged from the later stages of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and were welcomed by the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia.

The inclusion of pharmacists in residential aged care teams, the embedding of medicines reviews into home care packages and improving the transition between residential aged care and hospital care all feature in the Counsel Assisting’s Proposed Recommendations at Final Hearing.

This reflects the importance of facilitating hospital pharmacist expertise at crucial points in the care journey for older Australians.

SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says the supported presence of a pharmacist in the residential aged care setting is integral to safe, quality care.

“The crucial role of pharmacy in aged care is undeniable, with Australian research indicating 91% of aged care residents take at least five regular medicines, and 65% take more than 10, every day,” she says.

“The recommendation (18) to engage a pharmacist as part of minimum allied healthcare, supported by capped base payments per resident and activity-based payments for the direct care provided, is a strong step toward reduce medicines misuse and medication-related hospitalisations and injuries among this vulnerable cohort.

“Importantly, and as advocated by SHPA, the presence of a dedicated geriatric medicine pharmacist will ensure the optimal efficacy of Residential Medication Management Reviews (RMMRs) for aged care residents, and we welcome the recommendation (70) to allow and fund pharmacists from 1 January 2022 to conduct reviews on entry to residential care, and annually thereafter.”

Ms Michaels also welcomes the recommendations’ focus on transitions of care, a high-risk setting for older Australians.