Medication reviews are a useful strategy for identifying and proactively resolving aged care residents’ medication-related problems, according to new Australian research.
Monash University’s Centre for Medicine Use and Safety conducted a systematic review of Australia’s Residential Medication Management Review (RMMR) program, which is funded by the Australian Government
Medication reviews in aged care homes identify an average of 2.7 to 3.9 medication‐related problems per resident, according to the research looking at 13 medication review studies.
The review published this month also found that general practitioners accepted 45‐84 per cent of recommendations to resolve these problems.
However, the program’s impact on clinical and resident‐centred outcomes, such as falls and quality of life, remains unclear due to a lack of research.
Lead researcher, a pharmacist and PhD candidate Esa Chen said the research showed the value of pharmacists and GPs working together.
“This review highlights that collaboration between pharmacists and GPs is a useful strategy to identify and resolve medication-related problems in the residential aged care setting, thus improving medication safety,” Ms Chen told Australian Ageing Agenda.
Centre for Medicine Use and Safety director Professor Simon Bell said a large percentage of aged care residents had medication-related problems.
“The review findings are important because research has reported that up to 96 per cent of residents referred for RMMRs have one or more actual or potential medication-related problems, yet it’s estimated that only 38 per cent of residents currently receive a RMMR annually,” Professor Bell told AAA.
“Although the review highlighted a lack of research into important outcomes such as quality of life, falls, and hospitalisations, RMMRs often address issues such as use of falls-risk medications and the appropriateness of antibiotic use.
“We know that falls and infections are leading causes of hospitalisations from aged care facilities,” Professor Bell said.
GPs need to make a referral to a pharmacist to undertake a review under the RMMR program.
Professor Bell said GPs and pharmacists should be proactive about delivering the service.
“I encourage GPs to refer and for aged care providers to have an environment where residential reviews are included as part of the process of care,” he said.
Guidelines from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Australian Government recommend new residents receive a review as soon as possible after admission.
The government funds RMMR through the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement. The 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement is now being negotiated.
“We certainly hope that the review provides evidence that the RMMMR program is valuable and should certainly continue,” Professor Bell said.
The research was published in the Australasian Journal of Ageing in September. Access it here.
Access the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s advice Guidelines for pharmacists providing Residential Medication Management Review (RMMR) and Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) services.
Access the Australian Government’s Guiding Principles for Medication Management in Residential Aged Care (2012).
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